Background checks mandatory for Missouri teachers, how extensive depends on the district

How extensive are teacher's background checks?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - School districts in Missouri are required to perform background checks on everyone who works there, however, how extensive the searches are depends on the district.

"There is no national background check if you want to do a background check,” private investigator Ron Rugen said. “If you want to do a background check on someone for criminal and civil and other matters, you have to go state by state to get those done."

Lisa Cummings helps vet everyone who works for the Belton School District. 

“You have to do them (background checks),” she said, “You have to do them immediately. I mean, it’s the safety of our kids.”

Districts are required to take fingerprints from applicants as well as perform a criminal background check through the Missouri Highway Patrol and FBI databases.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also works as an oversight. Personnel there perform a yearly name search on certified teachers, checking news outlets and court records for updates. 

The department is currently monitoring 400 teachers with questionable cases. 

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