Salish Kootenai College Division of Education Background Check Policy
Prior to participating in any field experience, practicum, community services or student teaching, all education students must have a background check current within two years on file with the Division of Education Department.
After receipt of the background check, it is reviewed and approved by the following guidelines:
- If the student has no record for the state, federal and CPS check, the Division of Education Chair approves the candidate for placement.
- All offenses require a review with the Division of Education Chair and/or the Background Check Manager. Some offenses may require approval from the school or program where the student is applying for a placement.
- After the field experience or student teaching has started, any candidate may be removed from their assignment if knowledge of an offense occurs during the quarter in which they are enrolled. As a minimum, candidates are required to report offenses to the Division of Education Chair.
Considerations of all offenses will include severity, frequency, and how recently the offense occurred.
Candidates may appeal their background check to the agency or authority from where the background check was received.
Effect on Secondary, Elementary, and Early Childhood P-3 Licensure
Acceptance or refusal to place students in the field due to a criminal record does not imply any knowledge of the candidate’s ability to obtain a teaching license from the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) or other employment possibilities.
Effect on Child Care Licensing Requirements
Section 37.95.109 of the Montana Licensing Requirements for Child Day Care Centers states “Each caregiver, volunteer, support staff person or a person over the age of 18 residing in the home shall have a state criminal, child protective services/adult protective services and if applicable a tribal criminal and child protective services background check conducted. The state will not grant approval or licensure nor allow a license or registration approval if any director, caregiver, volunteer or support staff has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or misdemeanor involving child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against a child or children (including child pornography) or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery. The state shall not grant approval nor allow a license or registration approval if any director, caregiver, volunteer or support staff person or a person over the age of 18 residing in the home has within the last 5 years been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or misdemeanor involving physical assault, battery or felony drug related offense.”
Background Check Process:
If you have a fingerprinted background check, including state and federal, that is less than two years old AND the agency that requested the check will share the results with SKC, have a copy of the results sent to: Division of Education, Salish Kootenai College, P.O. Box 70, Pablo, MT
If you do not have a current background check:
- Obtain a background check packet from the Division of Education.
- Read the Background Check Policy Summary, sign it and return it to the Background Check Manager.
- Read and sign the Applicant Rights and Consent to Fingerprint Form.
- Read, sign and notarize the Consent and Release Forms and waiver.
- Have your fingerprints taken. Local sites where this can be done:
- SKC Division of Education, Pablo, MT
- Tribal Law and Order, Division Street, Pablo, MT
- Lake County Sheriff’s Office at 106 4th Avenue East Polson, MT
- Return the following items to the SKC Division of Education:
- Background Check Policy with signature
- Applicant Rights and Consent to Fingerprint Form with signature
- The Consent and Release Forms with notarization and waiver
- The completed fingerprint cards (2)
Storage and use of background checks:
Background check records are locked in the Division of Education Administrative Assistant’s Office in a closed envelope in the candidate’s file separate from the rest of his/her educational records. These checks are shared only with the respective candidate.
Other behavioral expectations:
Candidates are subject to all provisions of the SKC Division of Education Student Handbook during their program of study. They are expected to exhibit behavior appropriate to someone pursuing a career as a professional educator. Program and college personnel are available to help any candidate who feels they have a problem requiring assistance. Appropriate college personnel may suggest counseling or other assistance as necessary. Problems affecting the candidate’s ability to perform the functions of a professional educator may delay or stop the candidate’s progression through the education program. It is the students’ responsibility to immediately report any offenses that occur between background checks to the Education Department Chair. Failure to notify the Division of Education Dean of investigations and/or criminal charges could result in suspension or exiting from the Teacher Education Program.
Change of Background Check Status Protocol:
When any faculty or staff member in the Division of Education is alerted to changes in a teaching candidate’s background check or of investigations into circumstances related to his/her record, the Dean of Education shall be notified by the appropriate person(s) having pertinent information. The Dean will set up a meeting with the candidate and Background Check Manager to go over regulations and policies set by the Division. At that point, this candidate will not be allowed into any children/student attended environments until either his/her background check is expunged of substantiated records or an investigation is completed with no substantiated evidence of wrongful doing or criminal activity.
Upon new information provided regarding a finding of substantiated wrongdoing or criminal activity, such candidate will be exited from the program either immediately or at the end of the quarter. The date of expulsion will be determined at a Division Meeting that will be called within a week, with the attendance of that candidate’s current instructors, the Dean, and the Background Check Manager. The determination of whether to allow the student to continue to the end of the quarter will be based on case-by-case circumstances with other considerations that may include the candidate’s disposition regarding the matter and accommodations or modifications possible for any fieldwork requirements.
Upon the Division Dean learning either by a candidate self-reporting or otherwise being alerted to an investigation into a candidate’s actions, the candidate will not be allowed in the field to complete his/her field assignments but reasonable accommodations or modifications may be made for the candidate to continue to meet his/her course requirements if determined to be appropriate. When the investigation is completed with no findings or changes in the background record, the candidate can proceed with the program unimpeded by such investigation. If substantiated wrongdoing or criminal activity is documented at the conclusion of the investigation, the candidate will be exited from any SKC teacher education program as provided above.