Teachers statewide to be fingerprinted

A new Pennsylvania law says school employees statewide are required to prove their innocence.

“In order to maintain their teaching certificates, they have to keep their clearances up to date,” Cumberland Valley superintendent Frederick Withum said.

What is now required is an FBI clearance, Child Abuse Clearance and State Police Child Line Clearance, which Withum says can be costly.

“We are trying to figure the in’s and out’s and phase it in. There is a lot of cost associated with it as well that needs to be addressed,” Withum said.

It’s not just teachers. Anyone who works with or around kids will have to go through the process of getting fingerprinted and background checked.

“We have no problem doing anything to increase the safety of our kids, but we want to do it in a way that we don’t lose the army of volunteers that we do have,” Withum said.

The fingerprinting and background checks will cost around $47.50. Teachers will have to pay out-of-pocket.

“If anyone is going to cry that it’s too expensive, they should seek a new profession,” attorney Jason Kutulakis said.

Kutulakis was a member of the child protection task force.

“The Jerry Sandusky out of State College case gave the attention which ultimately led to the formation of the task force,” Kutulakis said.

He says the many changes in state law directly reflect the government’s attitude toward learning from prior incidents.

“Those that are employed in professions that interact and are responsible for children on a daily basis to undergo fingerprinting to have an FBI clearance,” Kutulakis said.

The clearances will have to be renewed every three years. Anyone who needs them and does not currently have them is required to obtain them by the end of 2015.

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