Fingerprinting For Texas School Districts

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

It's a new strategy to help keep your kids safe at school, and it all starts with checking the fingerprints of school employees.

A new state law dubbed "The Fingerprinting Bill" is making all school districts use fingerprinting for their employees background checks.

Texas Senate Bill 9, also known as the Fingerprinting Bill will be implemented this January. It's meant to help schools with their background checks for new employees to make sure they know everything about their criminal history.

"Ultimately, the end result is going to be that all state agency and school district employees, we're talking all employees, eventually fingerprinted," said Gilbert Vasquez, Ector County ISD's Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

ECISD is one of over a thousand Texas school districts that will be soon be using fingerprints, and for Vasquez, the reason why is pretty clear.

"Bottom line the whole purpose behind this is to identify possibly people that have criminal pasts, particularly in school districts we want to make sure that we're not employing people that may have criminal pasts to involve children or students," explained Vasquez.

ECISD is one of many West Texas School Districts that does background checks on all their employees, but Vasquez said the added bonus of fingerprinting will help in the long run.

"Possibly the digital scanning of people's fingerprints may have some accuracies that are lacking right now in our school district that might help uncover some people with some criminal history that we otherwise would not detect under our present format," said Vasquez.

And that's important, Vasquez added, because he said he knows who comes first in schools.

"We're entrusted with protection of children. Certainly also our employees, and to have someone with a serious criminal past or a criminal situation would be unacceptable," explained Vasquez.

The only real question about making all school districts use fingerprinting technology is how much money it will cost. Details for how each and every one will pay for it has not been released.