State law (Illinois School Code 5/10-21.9) prohibits a school board from employing a person convicted of certain felony, sex, narcotics and drug convictions, and the Education Department has made a commitment to local area schools to require criminal background checks for all candidates in programs with field experiences.
Movement through the program may be suspended for failure to comply with the background check requirements. It is the responsibility of the candidate to refer to the Illinois School Code and/or seek legal counsel if it is suspected that his/her criminal history may bar licensure or employment in a school district or agency.
Education Department Fingerprinting Policy
It is the responsibility of the SXU Education Department to verify to our school partners that teacher candidates assigned to school sites for field experiences and/or clinical practice have not been convicted of any illegal activity. To ensure the accuracy and current nature of this information, all Education Department candidates must complete the Chicago Public Schools fingerprinting/background investigation process through Accurate Biometrics prior to any course related field experiences.
Accurate Biometrics is the fingerprinting vendor for the Chicago Public School (CPS) system. If the CPS fingerprinting process is followed and the appropriate CPS fingerprinting form is used at an Accurate Biometrics location, the fingerprinting process produces both an FBI and an Illinois State Police background check report. The fingerprints are checked against the databases of both agencies (FBI and Illinois state police). Once processed by both agencies, the background check results are generated directly to CPS. If any subsequent convictions occur (HIT) after the initial fingerprinting, CPS would receive the report and notify the SXU Education Department accordingly, if any action is necessary.
Other fingerprinting agencies do not share updated reports with the SXU Education Department. SXU Education Department candidates pursuing licensure in Illinois must complete the Accurate Biometrics CPS fingerprinting process to ensure that all of our candidates are currently free of any convictions each time they enter our partner schools.
- Education Department candidates currently employed as certified teachers, substitutes or paraprofessionals in the Chicago Public School (CPS) system. If CPS currently employs a candidate, the candidate needs to notify the Education Department; we then verify their employment with our CPS liaison.
- Students-at-large (e.g., certified student teaching mentor teachers taking a free course) if they are enrolled in a course requiring field experiences and those field experiences will be completed in the school/school district in which they are currently employed. However, if field experiences are to be completed in a setting other than the current school/district of employment of the student-at-large, the Accurate Biometrics CPS fingerprinting process must be completed.
A second fingerprinting/background check is required prior to student teaching as per an Illinois law that went into effect January 1, 2016:
PA 99-021 became effective on January 1, 2016. Pursuant to this Public Act, each student teacher (defined to include those completing required internships) is required, prior to starting a student teaching or required internship experience, to authorize and pay for the school or school district where the student teaching is to be completed to conduct a fingerprint-based criminal history records check of that individual. Institutions should verify all student teaching candidates are aware of the background check (and its cost) prior to student teaching, and practice open communication with the school or district regarding the completion of the background check prior to the candidate beginning student teaching.