A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- CRIMINAL RECORDS REVIEW
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 16-2-18.1 and 16-2-18.2 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-2 entitled "School Committees and Superintendents" are hereby amended to read as follows:
16-2-18.1. Criminal records review. -- (a) Any person seeking employment with a private school or public school department
, if that employment involves the exercise of supervisory or disciplinary power over children or routine contact with children without the presence of other employees, who has not previously been employed by a private school or public school department in Rhode Island during the past twelve (12) months shall undergo a national and state criminal background check to be initiated prior to or within one week of employment after receiving a conditional offer of employment; provided, however, that employees hired prior to August 1, 2001 the effective date of enactment of this section [July 13, 1998] and or who have been continuously employed by a public school department in Rhode Island during the past twelve (12) months shall be exempted from the requirements of this section sections 16-2-18.1 and 16-2-18.2.
(b) The applicant
or employee, through the employer, shall apply to the bureau of criminal identification (BCI), department of attorney general or local police department for a national and state criminal records check. Fingerprinting shall not be required. Upon the discovery of any disqualifying information, the bureau of criminal identification or the local police department, will inform the applicant in writing of the nature of the disqualifying information; and, without disclosing the nature of the disqualifying information will notify the employer in writing that disqualifying information has been discovered.
(c) An employee against whom disqualifying information has been found may request that a copy of the criminal background report be sent to the employer who shall make a judgment regarding the
continued employment of the employee.
(d) In those situations in which no disqualifying information has been found, the bureau of criminal identification
or the local police department, shall inform the applicant and the employer in writing of this fact.
(e) For purposes of this section, "disqualifying information" shall mean those offenses listed in section23-17-37, and those offenses listed in sections 11-37-8.1 and 11-37-8.3.
(f) The employer shall maintain on file, subject to inspection by the department of education, evidence that criminal records checks have been initiated on all employees seeking employment subsequent to the effective date of this section [July 13, 1998], and the results of the checks.
The records check shall be provided to the applicant for employment without charge. The applicant shall be responsible for the costs of the national and state criminal records check.
(g) At the conclusion of the criminal background check required in this section, the attorney general shall promptly destroy the fingerprint record of the applicant obtained pursuant to this chapter.
16-2-18.2. Prior criminal records checks. -- If an applicant for employment has undergone a national and state criminal records check within
eighteen (18) twelve (12) months prior to an application for employment, the employer may request from the bureau of criminal identification or local police department a letter indicating the presence or absence of disqualifying information. The bureau of criminal identification will respond without disclosing the nature of the disqualifying information. The letter may be maintained on file to satisfy the requirements of this chapter.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.