Fingerprinting Mandates under the Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Legislation
Chief Executive Officers of Institutions of Higher Education, Chief School Officers of Public School Districts, Principals of Public Schools, Teacher Education Contact Persons, School Personnel Officers, Charter School Principals/Directors, State and Local Representatives of Teacher Organizations and Other Interested Parties
|From:||Charles C. Mackey, Jr|
|Subject:||Fingerprinting Mandates under the Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) Legislation|
Effective July 1, 2001, Chapter 180 of the Laws of 2000 requires the Commissioner of Education and the New York State Education Department (SED) to request a fingerprint supported criminal history background check for applicants for certification as well as for prospective employees of school districts, charter schools and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES).
The Office of Teaching (OT) has been working diligently to ensure that these mandates are implemented in a timely and efficient manner. Within OT, we have created the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) to manage this initiative and assume the new SED responsibilities associated with the fingerprinting requirement.
OSPRA has been working closely with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) in establishing a system that will permit SED to receive the results of fingerprint-generated criminal history reports so the Department can evaluate the information and issue determinations as expeditiously as possible. In addition, regulations are being drafted to implement these new statutory mandates and will be acted on by the Board of Regents at its June 2001 meeting.
The purpose of this memo is to address some of the commonly asked questions and to assist you, your staff, students and colleagues in understanding the SED fingerprint and review process. With continued communication and cooperation, our respective staffs will be able to work together to ensure that the intent and mandates of the new laws are effectively implemented.
Who Must Be Fingerprinted?
Applicants for certification who have not filed their application with OT prior to July 1, 2001 will need to be fingerprinted. Exempted from this requirement are individuals who are applying for a Permanent certificate and hold a valid Provisional certificate, applied for prior to July 1, 2001, in the same title for which the Permanent certificate is sought. Prospective employees of school districts (excluding the City School District of the City of New York), BOCES, and charter schools must also be fingerprinted if they have not been appointed by official action prior to July 1, 2001. An employee appointed prior to July 1, 2001 is exempt, even if such employee is not required to provide services until after July 1, 2001. Employees required to be fingerprinted are those who will reasonably be expected by the school district, BOCES, or charter school to provide services that involve direct contact with students under the age of twenty-one.
How Do Prospective Employees or Candidates for Certification Enter the SED Process?
Enclosed is a sample SED Fingerprint Packet containing two fingerprint cards, Fingerprinting Information and Instructions, and a Consent Form. Each prospective employee or candidate for certificate must read the instruction sheet and complete and return the Consent Form and fingerprint cards in the provided self-addressed, postage paid envelope.
How Do I Get More SED Fingerprint Packets?
SED Fingerprint Packets will be mailed out directly by OSPRA in response to orders requested by various organizations. We request that your initial order be restricted to the number of packets needed for the 2001-2002 school year. The following information must be included with your order:
- Official name of requesting organization;
- Contact person, telephone number and e-mail address;
- Complete mailing address; and
- The number of packets requested.
For expedited service, orders should be e-mailed to OSPRA@nysed.gov. Orders can also be mailed to OSPRA, NYS Education Department, 987 Education Building, Albany, NY 12234.
Orders placed by e-mail will be confirmed with an e-mail response once your packets are shipped.
Where and How Do Individuals Get Fingerprinted?
School districts, BOCES, charter schools, state and local criminal justice agencies, institutions of higher education, and other such entities are permitted to perform the fingerprint services for the purposes of these mandates.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is providing training at no cost to staff selected by school districts, BOCES, and charter schools to perform such services. A training program of approximately three hours in duration can be arranged at your site. To schedule a mutually convenient date for the training program contact:
Joseph B. Peck
Chief, Civil Identification Bureau
Division of Criminal Justice Services
Executive Park Tower
4 Tower Place
Albany, NY 12203-3764
What Should I Do If I Have Additional Questions?
The Fingerprint Information and Instructions contained in each of the SED Fingerprint Packets contains detailed information on the complete process, as well as the rights and options of applicants and/or prospective employees.
Any additional questions or concerns should be forwarded by e-mail directly to OSPRA at OSPRA@nysed.gov. You can also contact that office at:
NYS Education Department
981 Education Building Annex
Albany, New York 12234