CHRI will be kept for the above purposes in separate, secured, locked locations in the Office of Human Resources.When no longer needed, CHRI and any summary of CHRI data must be destroyed by shredding paper copies and/or by deleting all electronic copies from the electronic storage location, including any backup copies or files. The shredding of paper copies of CHRI by an outside vendor must be supervised by an employee of the Lexington Public Schools.
An informed review of a criminal record requires training. Accordingly, all personnel authorized to receive and/or review CHRI at the Lexington Public Schools will review and become familiar with the educational and relevant training materials regarding SAFIS and CHRI laws and regulations made available by the appropriate agencies, including the DCJIS.
A. Use of Criminal History in Background Screening.
Information from CHRI records used for employment purposes shall only be accessed for applicants who are otherwise qualified for the position for which they have applied and for current employees during periodic criminal background checks.
Unless otherwise provided by law, a criminal record will not automatically disqualify an individual from employment, contract work, volunteering or interning. Rather, determinations of suitability based on background checks will be made consistent with this policy and any applicable law or regulations.
B. Verifying a Subject's Identity.
If a criminal record is received from DCJIS, the information must be closely compared with the information on the Acknowledgement Form and any other identifying information provided by the applicant to ensure the record belongs to the applicant.
If the information in the CHRI record provided does not exactly match the identification information provided by the applicant, a determination is to be made by an individual authorized to make such determinations based on a comparison of the CHRI record and documents provided by the applicant.
C. Inquiring About Criminal History.
In connection with any decision regarding employment, internships or volunteer ' opportunities within Lexington Public Schools, the individual shall be provided with a copy of his/her criminal history record, whether obtained from DCJIS or from any other sources, prior to questioning the individual about his/her criminal history. The source(s) of the criminal history record is also to be disclosed to the individual.
D. Determining Suitability.
If a determination is made, based on the information as provided in record, that the criminal record belongs to the individual under consideration, and the individual does not dispute the record's accuracy, then the determination of suitability for the position will be made. Unless otherwise provided by law, factors considered in determining suitability may include, but not be limited to the following:
Relevance of the record to the position sought;
- The nature of the position or work to be performed;
- Time that has passed since the [offense,] conviction and/or completion of the sentence;
- Age of the applicant at the time of the offense;
- Seriousness and specific circumstances of the offense;
- The number of offenses;
- Whether the applicant has pending charges;
- Any relevant evidence of rehabilitation or lack thereof; and
- Any other relevant information, including information submitted by the applicant or requested by the organization.
The applicant is to be notified of the decision and the basis for it in a timely manner.
A record of the suitability determination must be retained for the period of the employee's employment or for seven (7) years, whichever is longer. The following information will be included in the determination:
- The name and date of birth of the employee or applicant;
- The date on which the school received the national criminal history check results; and
- The suitability determination (either "suitable" or "unsuitable").
A copy of an individual's suitability determination documentation must be provided to another school employer, or to the individual, upon request of the individual for whom Lexington Public Schools conducted a suitability determination.
VII. Relying on Previous Suitability Determination.
Under certain circumstances, consistent with 603 CMR 51.06, the Lexington Public Schools may rely on a suitability determination made by another school employer or DESE, if the following factors are met:
- Suitability determination was made within the last seven (7) years; and
- The applicant has not resided outside Massachusetts for any period longer than three (3) years since the suitability determination; and,
- either (i) the individual has been continuously employed for one or more school employers or has gaps totaling no more than 2 years in his/her employment for school employers; or (ii) if the individual works as a substitute employee, the individual is still deemed suitable for employment by the school employer who made the favorable suitability determination.
Upon request of another school employer or the individual for whom the Lexington Public Schools conducted the suitability determination, Lexington Public Schools shall provide documentation of the suitability determination.
VIII. Adverse Decisions Based on CHRI
If inclined to make an adverse decision based on an individual's CHRI, the Lexington Public Schools will take the following steps prior to making a final adverse determination:
- Provide the individual with a copy of his/her CHRI used in making the adverse decision;
- Provide the individual with a copy of this CHRI Policy;
- Provide the individual the opportunity to complete or challenge the accuracy of his/her CHRI; and
- Provide the individual with information on the process for updating, changing, or correcting CHRI.
A final adverse decision based on an individual's CHRI will not be made until the individual has been afforded a reasonable time depending on the particular circumstances (up to thirty calendar days) to correct or complete the CHRI.
IX. Secondary Dissemination of CHRI
If an individual's CHRI is released to another authorized entity, a record of that dissemination must be made in the secondary dissemination log. The secondary dissemination log is subject to audit by the DCJIS and the FBI.
The following information will be recorded in the log:
1. Subject Name;
2. Subject Date of Birth;
3. Date and Time of the dissemination;
4. Name of the individual to whom the information was provided;
5. Name of the agency for which the requestor works;
6. Contact information for the requestor; and
7. The specific reason for the request.
X. Reporting to Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Pursuant to M.G.L. ch 71, § 71R and 603 CMR 51.07, if Lexington Public Schools dismisses, declines to renew the employment of, obtains the resignation of, or declines to hire a licensed educator or an applicant for a Massachusetts educator license because of information discovered through a state or national criminal record check, Lexington Public Schools shall report such decision or action to the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education in writing within 30 days of the employer action or educator resignation. The report shall be in a form requested by the Department and shall include the reason for the action or resignation, as well as a copy of the criminal record check results. Lexington Public Schools shall notify the employee or applicant that it has made a report pursuant to 603 CMR 51.07(1) to the Commissioner.
Pursuant to M.G.L. ch. 71, § 71R and 603 CMR 51.07, if the Lexington Public Schools discovers information from a state or national criminal record check about a licensed educator or an applicant for a Massachusetts educator license that implicates grounds for license action pursuant to 603 CMR 7.15(8)(a), Lexington Public Schools shall report to the Commissioner in writing within 30 days of the discovery, regardless of whether Lexington Public Schools retains or hires the educator as an employee. The report must include a copy of the criminal record check results. The school employer shall notify the employee or applicant that it has made a report pursuant to 603 CMR 51.07(2) to the Commissioner and shall also send a copy of the criminal record check results to the employee or applicant.