Wednesday, October 6, 2010

56 Metro School Workers Had Criminal Charges

Custodians Fail Background Checks, Not Rehired By Outsourcing Company Reported By Jonathan Martin WSMV Channel 4 POSTED: 2:46 pm CDT October 6, 2010 UPDATED: 6:48 pm CDT October 6, 2010 Background checks show that more than 50 people who had been working for Metro Schools for more than a decade had serious criminal charges the district never knew about. The people who clean Metro Schools no longer work for the school district. Outsourcing custodial work to save money meant the about 600 school janitors had to reapply for their jobs with the new, private company GCA. But 56 of those custodians didn't get hired by GCA because they failed a background check. "It is a disappointment, and we are examining those numbers with concern," said Meredith Libbey of Metro Schools. "We are examining those numbers with concern, and we're not at a point of having a policy change." Those custodians had been working in Metro Schools for a decade or more with criminal pasts the district had no clue about. GCA's background checks revealed eight custodians charged for aggravated assault with a weapon, one for assaulting a police officer and six for having dangerous drugs. There was one robbery charge, and child endangerment and sexual battery. Metro Schools has only been doing employee background checks for 10 years on new employees. Those who worked for the district before that were told to come forward if they had a criminal past. Many of the custodians did not. While all Metro workers are screened before they're hired now, Metro Council members Walter Hunt and Vivian Wilhoite said Metro government may need to go back and screen all of those people who were hired before background checks started. "If that shows we got 56 people within the ranks of janitors that couldn't pass it, I have to ask myself what else is out there," Hunt said. "Possibly more frequent background checks, if you're talking about every five years, every 10 years," Wilhoite said.

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