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School Safety Legislation 2006

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Background:
Between September 23 and September 29, 2005, Governor Granholm signed a series of 18 public acts that comprise the Student Safety Initiative. These acts address several different measures to make our schools safer for students, and to increase the penalties for those who are a threat to student safety. The package of bills amended several statutes, including but not limited to, the Teacher Tenure Act, the Revised School Code, and the Michigan Penal Code. All of the public acts took effect on January 1, 2006 with the exception of Public Act 125, which enacts sentencing guidelines for the crime of school employees failing to report conviction for listed offenses.This act took effect September 29, 2005.

At present:
The Department of Information Technology (DIT) works with the Department of Education (MDE) and State Police to develop and implement an automated program that compared the list of Registered Educational Personnel (REP) with the conviction information database. If a person on the REP has been convicted of a crime, the MDE is required to notify the district indicated on the REP as the employing district. These lists are to be compiled once every six months until July 1, 2008.

After a February 2006 release of the list revealed a large number of “false positive” identifications, the legislature revisited this issue to “clean up” the bill to ensure that more accurate records were released to schools and that only confirmed names involved in the most dangerous crimes could be released to media.

New lists, run through more filters to ensure greater accuracy, were released to schools in mid May 2006. The MDE letter gave school boards and superintendents the following information by employee:

  1. Date of conviction,
  2. Legal cite of the conviction (Penal Code reference),
  3. Description of the conviction, and
  4. Whether the conviction is a felony or misdemeanor.

Convictions for listed offenses will require immediate dismissal of the employee.

Next steps:
The law allows schools 15 business days after receipt of the list in which to confirm the accuracy of the names identified by MDE. The information is protected, by law, from FOIA requests during those 15 days. The MDE suggests schools follow these action steps:

  1. Verify and address listed employees in priority order based on the seriousness of the conviction:
    a. Listed offenses. Verification of a listed offense conviction requires dismissal from employment.
    b. Felony convictions. Verification of any other felony conviction requires the school superintendent or chief administrator and school board or governing body to agree in writing to retain the employee.
    c. Misdemeanors or ordinance violations.
  2. If an employee alleges a conviction does not belong to him/her, schools must confirm the individual’s identity by having the employee complete a personal record challenge, before the school can take employment action. Contact Dr. Frank P. Ciloski at the MDE at 517.373.6791 for information on the challenge procedure.
  3. Review these new requirements, along with FOIA exemptions, with your district’s legal counsel.
  4. Submit corrections to your list to Dr. Frank P. Ciloski at the MDE within 15 business days.
  5. Report the status of listed employees to the MDE within 60 days.

On this EduSource page, you will find:

In addition, we have compiled some useful documents that some Michigan districts have used locally. These are offered for information only; each district must determine the appropriate response to legal requirements.