INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It has become a growing problem in Indiana, educators arrested for sex crimes involving children and students. Now, Indiana law makers are working to reduce the number of sexual misconduct cases involving public school teachers and employees across the state.
Lawmakers say high profile child seduction cases in schools, like IPS counselor Shana Taylor and Park Tudor basketball coach Kyle Cox are pushing state law makers to change policies to protect kids in the classroom.
“Everybody feels that our kids will be safe at school, but are they safe at school? We need to redouble our efforts to make sure they are safe in our schools and use the tools that technology has given us to ensure that,” said State Senator Jim Merritt.
Mike McCarty, a former detective and president of the company that handles background checks for a number of school districts spoke at the meeting. He says at least half of employees already in schools have never had a national criminal background check, since it has only been mandatory since 2009. McCarty says background checks are not enough to stop this criminal behavior, because 60-70% of sexual predators do not have a criminal background.
“There becomes a point where that employee crosses a line into inappropriate and criminal behavior, but with no criminal history on the onset there is nothing to flag them…if we are not doing reference checks,” said Mike McCarty President and CEO of Safe Hiring Solutions.
This committee is also looking at the possibility of redoing background checks on employees hired before 2009.
“We want to do a better job of scrutinizing and making sure all of our children are protected,” said State Representative Bob Behning.
The committee also spoke about the importance of reporting sex crimes involving children immediately to the Department of Child Services. DCS has a hotline set up to take that information. Dial 800-800-5556.