The Commonwealth of PA needs to issue a mandate for schools to pay for all required clearances with our taxpayer funded safety grants. Protecting the children, families, and communities of our commonwealth is not a political or business matter, it is a common sense and safety precaution that really matters.
Recently, there have been at least 3 sex offenders arrested in our local school districts. Hundreds of children may have been victims, according to our local news media. Who knows how many more children in our schools may have been victimized? Fox News reports, "At least 181 K-12 educators were charged with child sex crimes in first half of 2022."
As a former PA Child Care Licensing Representative for 18 years, I easily checked over 10,000 employee/volunteer clearances and it was not always easy. Some clearances were forgeries and the process of checking for compliance can be a considerably convoluted, but overall the child cares did a fairly good job with very little resources. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for our PA school districts and after-school programs.
In my opinion, the school districts need to exceed the minimum requirements for obtaining all clearances. The school districts should pay for and keep in their possession all three of the clearances required for those having direct contact with children in the PA Public Schools. The costs would be less than $60.00 per person and the savings will be priceless for the safety's sake and security of all children.
The PA public schools have been receiving large taxpayer funded PA safety/security grants, large donations from companies, and larger taxpayer monies these past few years. Now, is the time to spend some of these monies more wisely on a real and true sense for protecting children's safety and security.
Dennis Smiddle- PA School Safety & Security Assessor.