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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Safe schools: Teachers undergo background checks

Teachers required by state law to submit a background check
Trey Janssen
New english teacher Kelsey Hanson shows class new materials Nov. 10. Minnesota began requiring more thorough background checks.

Before getting hired, Minnesota teachers must pass a background check. Director of Human Resources Richard Kreyer said it is important to look for transgressions on candidates’ records that could potentially affect their career as a teacher. 

“We go through and see what the infraction is, and if it’s not relevant to the job, it doesn’t matter,” Kreyer said. “If a person had a speeding ticket, well that’s okay because they’re not driving. If a person has sexual assault, supplying alcohol to minors, selling drugs, those are some of the ‘sorry, you can’t work here’ things.”

 A lawsuit involving a teacher who sexually assaulted his student at North Lakes Academy went before the Supreme Court on Nov. 7. This particular teacher was previously accused of the same crime. This has caused many at Park to question the thoroughness of background checks performed by school districts in Minnesota. According to social studies teacher Mike Nordean, teachers undergoing background checks should make the community feel more at ease. 

“I think it’s a good thing to make sure that we have teachers who have no criminal record,” Nordean said. “To make sure that the public and students’ parents feel comfortable essentially handing their children over to teachers for most of their day.”

Sophomore Maddison Grecco-Rosen said that while background checks are helpful, they can pose challenges for those trying to move on from a tough past. 

“It could affect some people that are trying to better their life that have a past criminal record,” Grecco-Rosen said. “It’s a good thing but also a bad thing for people that are trying to get a clean plate and try to pursue a career that they love.”

Kreyer said there are multiple steps to the background check hiring process at Park. 

“We have an outside company called Trusted Employees and they do all our background checks for us. Our background check starts with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, then every single county courthouse is checked,” Kreyer said. “And then, if a person has a residence that shows up outside of Minnesota, we do a social security trace and a background check in that state as well.”

According to Nordean, a background check could potentially be used against prospective teachers unfairly, but it is a great way to make sure applicants don’t have any unlawful history.

“It obviously can be used against people in a negative way that may not be appropriate,” Nordean said. “The intent is to prevent people who have a violent history. We need to have that process there to ensure, at least by our own culpability and liability, that people are who they say they are.”



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Alex Driver, Echo Staffer
Hey! My name is Alex, I’m a sophomore. This is my first year of Echo, when I’m not writing I’m playing soccer or seeing my friends. I love skiing, hiking, baking, and listening to music. I’m so excited to be a part of Echo this year! 
Trey Janssen, Echo Staffer
Yo I'm Trey, I'm a junior this is my first year on Echo and I'm going to be a photographer. I play hockey and I like to play golf. I'm super excited to be a member of Echo and meet awesome people. 

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