After employee arrest, Seymour school corp. discussing background checkd

After the recent arrest of a substitute teacher working for Seymour Community School Corp., the district is taking a look at making changes to how it conducts background checks when hiring personnel.

Superintendent Rob Hooker said the situation mandates a review of the corporation’s procedures and practices.

Although no action was taken during Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Hooker told board members he planned to review the current policy with administrators and school resource officers.

“We will be back with recommendations probably in March or April,” he said.

Seymour Community Schools currently requires all prospective employees undergo a background check that verifies the person’s identity and checks to see if the person has a criminal history in Indiana and other states in which the applicant resided. The policy also requires a check of the national sex offender registry.

“We’ll be looking at the company we use for background checks and also our in-house procedures for the entire process,” Hooker said.

In some cases, there is a limit on how long a conviction can be used by the school district as grounds to not employ someone.

The statute of limitations for using such information is 10 years from the time the person is released from probation, imprisonment or parole, whichever is later.

For some crimes, including murder, kidnapping and sex offenses, there is no statute of limitations. And for an offense relating to driving while intoxicated, the limit is five years.

Hooker said he couldn’t say a lot about the issue in a public setting because of the need to keep some information “confidential” and because state statute provides for discussion on the assessment, design and implementation of school safety and security measures, plans and systems.

“We can’t let everyone know exactly what it is we do, but we do want to let people know we are checking and making some recommendations,” he said.

On Jan. 27, Seymour police arrested Clayton Jon Hall, 42, of Brownstown at his residence on a charge of child molesting following an investigation into a complaint of “inappropriate actions” between an adult and a student at Cortland Elementary School.

Hall’s cash bond was set at $5,005 by Jackson Circuit Judge Richard W. Poynter during his initial hearing Feb. 2.

Poynter set a trial time and date of 8:30 a.m. July 12 for Hall, who faces three Level 4 counts of child molesting, touching or fondling with a child under the age of 14.

“Unfortunately, we had a bad situation, but we’ll see what we can change to try to improve our chances of not having anything like this again,” Hooker said.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.