The 2013-2014 school year has begun, and this is a good time for charter schools to be reminded of their obligations under Massachusetts law to conduct criminal record information (CORI) checks on employees, volunteers, and transportation providers to ensure that schools meet their required obligations under the state CORI law.
Since the 2010 Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform bill was enacted, employers – including charter schools – face regular new regulations surrounding criminal history checks. CORI reform affects both regular employers and certain regulated employers, such as schools and long-term care facilities, which are required by law to obtain additional CORI information. Employers that do not abide by new CORI regulations may face steep fines as high as tens of thousands of dollars for each offense.
Key Recommendations and Next Steps for Charter Schools:
• Schools should review and update their CORI policies and records to ensure full compliance with the CORI law and the applicable regulations
• Schools should perform CORI checks on all prospective and current permanent and temporary employees and volunteers who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children.
• While schools are generally only required to conduct CORI checks every three (3) years on employees and volunteers, conducting them on an annual basis to ensure that the school has current criminal record information for all employees and volunteers is a best practice.
• Ensure that the school’s CORI certification is current.
• If the school is interested in learning more about iCORI or registering you can obtain more information here: https://icori.chs.state.ma.us/icori/ext/global/landing.action?page=1&bod=1379461922022&m=presentLanding
• Schools should regularly conduct SORI checks on all prospective and current employees, volunteers and contractors. The Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”) only reveals detailed SORI on its public website regarding sex offenders who are classified as “high risk” or “Level 3.” See M.G.L. c. 6, § 178J, 803 CMR 1.28-1.30.
• Also, the National Sex Offender Public Website http://www.nsopw.gov/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 allows users to submit a single query to search the information made publicly available by the sex offender registry boards and agencies from across the country. It is important to note that when employers check sexual offender information on their own both state and national, you are only obtaining Level 3, high risk and not Level 1 and 2 registered offenders.