The Jessica Lunsford Act was passed by the 2005 Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Bush following the assault and murder of Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa Springs, Florida. This crime was allegedly committed by an individual who had at one time worked as a subcontracted mason at Jessica Lunsford’s school. The Act focused primarily on increasing the measures used to monitor sexual offenders or predators. However, part of the Act specifically related to individuals with access to school district campuses. This Technical Assistance Paper (TAP) is to provide assistance to districts and contractual personnel to implement s. 1012.465, Florida Statutes, as amended by the 2005 Legislature.
Section 1012.465, Florida Statutes, now states:
(1) Non-instructional school district employees or contractual personnel who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present, who have direct contact with students or who have access to or control of school funds must meet Level 2 screening requirements as described in s. 1012.32, F.S. Contractual personnel shall include any vendor, individual, or entity under contract with the school board.
The statute, as amended, applies to three categories of either non-instructional or contractual personnel, all of whom must meet Level 2 background screening requirements, including those:
1. Who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present,
2. Who have direct contact with students, or
3. Who have access to or control of school funds.
The statute applies to such persons employed or contracted with any Florida public school district in any Florida public school, including:
-Traditional Public Schools
1. Background Screening:
School districts must conduct the fingerprinting/background screening of noninstructional or contractual personnel at a location designated by the district using the code (ORI – Originating Agency Identifier) issued to the district by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and determine whether the individual has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.
2. Verification of Personnel on School Campuses:
For affected persons, each district must establish policies and procedures to ensure that only individuals who have undergone a background screening and have been approved to come on campus are allowed access on school grounds when students are present, or to have direct contact with students, or to have access or control over school funds.
In addition, each district must establish communication policies and procedures to ensure that all pertinent parties are notified when an individual terminates service with the district.
3. Sharing of Records:
Districts may share background screening results with other public school districts and are encouraged to do so to reduce the time and fiscal impact on certain service providers who may be providing contractual services in multiple districts.
Such persons may include:
– Vendors, including soda/milk/snack vendors under contract with the district
-Construction contractors and subcontractors
-Senior ring, photography, or yearbook vendors
Should districts choose to share records, it is recommended that the cooperating districts execute a Memorandum of Understanding which clearly spells out the role to be played by each district. Any employee provided access to criminal history records should be cautioned as to the confidentiality of the information contained within the record, and should not discuss such information outside of those also legally allowed access to such record.
4. Maintenance of Records:
After receiving the initial background check results from the FDLE, the original submitting district will thereafter be electronically notified by FDLE, in writing, of any new arrests. The original submitting district should forward the arrest information to any districts with which they have shared the criminal record. In addition, s. 1012.32(3), F.S., requires each school district to inform the FDLE of any change in the affiliation, employment, or contractual status of an individual previously fingerprinted.
The prints of an individual who terminates service with a district and is later reengaged to provide additional services must be re-submitted to the FDLE. Those individuals who provide services on a periodic basis pursuant to an on-going contract and who do not effectively break service should continue to have their arrest record results transmitted to the district by the FDLE.
The requirements applicable to those entities receiving fingerprint background check results are set forth in Rule 11C-6.010, promulgated by the FDLE pursuant to authority in s. 1012.32(3), F.S.
IDENTICO LLC provides background screening services to several private schools, whose background screening policies are based on National Child Protection Act (NCPA) as well as on Jessica Lunsford Act. Such private educational entities are qualified to obtain Level II background screening through VECHS program. Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program allows for qualified entities to obtain state and national criminal history record checks on individuals working with children, the elderly or the disabled.Under the NCPA and Florida statute, a “qualified entity” is a business or organization, whether public, private, for profit, not-for-profit, or voluntary, that provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services. “Care” means the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision, or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.
If you work or volunteer for “qualified entity” and VECHS screening is required as part of your employment or volunteerism, please contact us today. IDENTICO is FDLE authorized Live Scan vendor serving South Florida. With any question related to Level 2 background checks please call us at (954) 239-8590 or visit us online at www.myidentico.com for more information. We provide Mobile Fingerprinting Services and would come to your facility to fingerprint any size groups. Visit our office located at 3948 Pembroke Road, Suite E, Pembroke Park, FL, 33021 for all fingerprinting, background screening or drug testing needs.