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Criminal Records Checks Don’t Check Every Criminal Record

A story out of Texas reminds us of the limits of many criminal records checks. A Texas school district discovered that a member of its citizens advisory board had a criminal conviction for prostitution and a current website offering escort services. That particular advisory board advised the school district about its sexual education curriculum.

This story is a reminder that not all criminal records checks are equal. Many local law enforcement agencies will run a background check for you, but some of those checks only search for felony convictions. In the Texas case, the prostitution convictions apparently were misdemeanors that didn’t show up.

If your youth organization is getting checks from law enforcement, be sure that you know what records the office is searching. If you are using a paid vendor to conduct background checks, be very certain that the vendor is searching all the records that you need to have checked.

"We would think that typically if you ran a background check that those arrests would show up, and they don’t — they’re misdemeanors in the State of Texas," said Lowe. "I think this is something that the state needs to look at in regards to how they’re screening people that participate in schools."


child protection, criminal records, ausburn_deborah, youth services law, insights