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The American Federation of Teachers is lobbying the state Legislature to shift the fingerprinting costs to school districts.

"I don't mind doing this," Wilmington Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton said, "but the cost, say, for a cafeteria employee it's more than they make in a day, and that's really unfortunate."

´╗┐Reviews mixed for school

Wulfson said he doesn't believe that checking the histories of employees on a national scale will reveal many workers with criminal pasts.

"We'll make a decision internally on whether to handle that fee," he said. "We'll have staff handle that or split the cost. For a couple more thousand dollars to ensure the safety of a kid, we're not going to hassle a teacher on that."

Previously, school districts would run Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, checks solely in Massachusetts. Some districts would check bordering states like New Hampshire as well. But Wulfson said that left a "major loophole" in the system from potential employees arriving from uncovered states.

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If a criminal background is detected, the individual's record is sent to the school district, and the superintendent decides what course of action to take.

Jeff Wulfson, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said student safety is an important issue. When the state Legislature approved the new policy in September, he said lawmakers wanted more safeguards Gucci Purse Small

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LOWELL State required fingerprinting of all public school employees is under way, but local officials are expressing mixed reactions to launching the practice in their own districts, a Sun survey reveals.

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Lowell area school superintendents say they're bracing themselves for what's to come, pointing to the controversial fee that employees must pay to get the prints. The price ranges from $35 to $55.

will run collected digital prints through its system, enabling public schools for the first time to receive background checks outside Massachusetts.

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"This was something we clearly should be doing," Wulfson said.

Tewksbury Superintendent of Schools John O'Connor added that he believes the fee will be a discussion point across all districts, and Roger Bourgeois, superintendent/director of Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsboro said he'll continue to look for a way to offset the costs, though the conversation hasn't start yet.

Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, told The Sun he has already heard many complaints regarding the fee, but he remains supportive.

Massachusetts is the last state in the country to adopt the practice.

The new fingerprinting process also applies to private schools.

"The MTA and its members recognize students' and members' safety comes first," Toner said. "We just want the implementation to be as hassle free for our Gucci Backpack Gg Supreme

Judith Klimkiewicz, superintendent of Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, said she'd like to absorb the cost for the prints for employees, if possible, though that may not be likely. She said it will probably have to be negotiated.

The fingerprinting of teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and even contractors working on a school campus began this month in Boston, Beverly, Pittsfield and Bourne.

Chris Ott, an ACLU spokesman, said employees should be concerned about what happens with their prints, how long they will be stored, and how securely they will be kept. Ott said modern technology is moving toward the use of fingerprints for accessing sensitive information.

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Ashburnham Westminster Regional School Superintendent of Schools Ralph Hicks wrote in an email that he is worried about the cost for teachers, as well. He noted they already pay a $100 licensure fee every five years.

"I expect we'll identify a small number of problems here," he said. "We're not doing this because we think there are a large number of teachers (with criminal records). He works in West Virginia and runs background checks with 75 million fingerprints on file, he said.

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"I think this is wrong to put this on the backs of the teachers or a school district," he wrote. ". It seems that with computers, a national (Criminal Offender Record Information) could be performed for much less time and cost."

members as possible."

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education program aims to strengthen its background checking process using a national FBI database. The federal agency Gucci Belt Purse

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Wulfson said the state has selected MorphoTech in Billerica to collect the digital prints across the Bay State. He said new hires for the 2013 2014 school year must be fingerprinted and reviewed first. Then officials have until the 2016 2017 school year to review all remaining employees in their districts.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts raised some issues with the practice regarding a person's privacy, though Toner said he has not heard his union raise those issues yet.

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Albert "Skip" Shannon, acting president of the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro, said he believes the $35 to $55 cost is "immaterial."

in place to protect students. He said the state plans to roll out the program across Massachusetts in the next few months.

"I think it will be a good thing," she said. "People are much more transient than they were a decade ago. . Nowadays people move all the time."

"Every few years, it seems like there's more and Miu Miu Tartan Bag more technology headed this way," he said. "We shouldn't treat people fingerprints lightly."

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