Only after a (now former) Claremont High School substitute teacher was charged last month with felonious sexual assault on a 14-year-old did school officials learn of a prior felony conviction. And they did a background check.
Under state law, criminal background checks on potential school employees turn up only a few felonies — murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and crimes against children. Christopher LeBlanc was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy to transmit stolen goods across state lines. School officials have the option of requesting all felonies, according to the state. But many don’t know this. Claremont Superintendent Middletown McGoodwin said he did not know he could get all felonies.
The state needs to notify school districts that they can search for all felonies. And legislators should consider requiring the reporting of them all. Public school officials should know if they are about to hire a felon.