The end of the school year is near. In just a few short days (or weeks) New Jersey schools will complete another fiscal year, allowing students and teachers, alike, to enjoy a well-deserved summer break. During this summer, however, school administrators have one more task to add to their preparations for the 2018-2019 school year. Along with making repairs to buildings as needed, preparing the upcoming school schedules, and taking care of other administrative duties, New Jersey schools will have to learn and begin execution of the new “Pass the Trash” Law. Schools in New Jersey are taking care to address the ever-growing problem of child abusers and child predators lurking the halls of the school system. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed into law the Senate Bill S414 (Law A 3381), commonly known as the “Pass the Trash” law, The law, which became effective June 1, 2018, puts forth guidelines to help ensure that teachers, administrators, and vendors that come into contact with school students have not been previously accused of or convicted of any unlawful contact with minors, including sexual and physical abuse. All educational facilities, including Chartered and Private schools are required to follow the law. Here is what you need to know to help you ensure compliance with this new mandate.
The purpose behind this new law is to protect our students from known child predators. New Jersey is one of the few states that has not had a law like this already on the books. Until now, it was not uncommon for an educator to be relieved of his or her duties at a school for an investigation of child abuse or predatory behavior and appear as an employee at another New Jersey school a couple of years later, allowing the individual to repeat the same actions again. Typically, these individuals were not convicted of a crime and settled cases with disciplinary actions and monetary payments without involving the court systems, allowing them to pass a fingerprint criminal record check. This new law will help prevent this by following the trail of employment in addition to criminal record backgrounds.
Obtain a Full List of Past Employer Contacts
Most employers are subject to the laws under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when obtaining third party background checks on their employees. These laws typically require employers to adhere to seven or ten-year guidelines for arrests and litigation or bankruptcy records. However, under the “Pass the Trash” law, schools are required to obtain a full list of employer contact information for the past twenty (20) years for any employee or vendor who may have contact with children within the school. This information goes beyond a simple verification that the employee worked with or for the school. It must include a contact person who can provide a written statement that the person was not the subject of a child abuse investigation, disciplines for child abuse allegations, or had his or her license suspended for any reason. Of course, the employee will provide a written authorization that will allow a past employer to discuss these issues, to help comply with federal guidelines that protect employee privacy.
Compliance with this new law is mandatory for all schools. To obtain help complying with this new mandate, contact the experts at Fusion Employer Services at (609) 896-5900. Their Human Resources professionals can help make sure you are following this and other employment laws without overstepping the boundaries set forth by the laws meant to protect your schools, employees, and students.