Dallas ISD Updates Employee Fingerprints

Biometric and security concept: scanning fingerprint from a finger | Image by vchal, Shutterstock

The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is heightening its background check protocols in the wake of a string of arrests of DISD employees in recent months.

“With the safety and wellbeing of students and team members in mind, Dallas ISD has been updating fingerprints for employees who were fingerprinted before June 1, 2015,” the district said in a staff bulletin.

The bulletin went on to inform qualifying DISD employees where they could get their fingerprints taken before stating that the measure was part of its participation in a federal law enforcement program.

“Getting updated fingerprints from staff is necessary as part of the district’s subscription to the FBI Civil Rap Back program. The FBI Civil Rap Back program allows an entity, such as school districts, to receive notifications of new activity to a criminal history record of an employee at the national level,” DISD said.

The district has seen a number of its employees get arrested in recent months, with three involved in alleged crimes against minors.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a chemistry teacher at Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy was arrested last month after investigators claimed he was engaging in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student of his.

The month before that, the 34-year-old athletics director of Hector P. Garcia Middle School was arrested for a similar alleged offense.

More recently, a hall monitor and coach working at Justin F. Kimball High School was arrested for allegedly punching a student in the face.

It is currently unclear whether any arrested individuals had a criminal background in Texas or elsewhere in the United States.

According to the bulletin, “DISD already subscribes to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Fingerprint-based Applicant Clearinghouse of Texas (FACT) to receive notifications if an employee’s criminal history record changes … [T]he district would be notified if the employee is arrested or charged with a violation of law after the initial background check. In the past, the subscription service only made notifications of new activity to a Texas criminal history record.”

Robyn Harris, the executive director of media relations and crisis communications for DISD, spoke with The Dallas Express about the fingerprinting bulletin.

She insisted that the re-fingerprinting was the district being proactive in maintaining employee background checks and was not done “in response to any improper relationships with students.”

Harris said DISD is voluntarily aligning itself with federal guidelines.

The Dallas Express asked Harris if the DISD employees that were recently arrested had criminal backgrounds logged in other states.

“That would be a question for the Dallas Police Department or the Dallas ISD Police Department,” she said.

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