Background checks for CHL applicants, but not for felons employed at schools!

Gun control is all about protecting the children, right? So why is it that the people with most direct access to children aren't being put through the rigorous, invasive, privacy-destroying investigations that law-abiding citizens who wish to exercise a Constitutional right are put through?

Parents outraged at ex-cons working in schools

February 06, 2004
WYKC Channel 3 Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- A Carl Monday investigation that revealed children in the Cleveland school system could be walking the halls with ex-cons is getting quick response from school CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and angry reaction from many parents.

Parents were outraged after learning Paul Netters, a custodian at their kids' school, did time for molesting a five-year-old girl.

"What's wrong with these people?" said parent Melissa Lang. "That's sick. I have two little girls."

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

"That's awful, I think," said parent William Lease. "I never knew anything about it."

Neither did the Cleveland school district.

Even Byrd-Bennett admits the system for background checks on non-teaching employees doesn't make the grade.

"Our system is not foolproof," she said.

The schools have become a hiring hall for ex-cons.

"Everyone shouldn't be allowed in a school if they have a prior," said parent Osie Holden. "Especially somebody who has molested a child."

But it's not just child molesters. A sign outside many schools warns "No drug dealers allowed," but Mishika Stewart is a convicted drug dealer who works as a teacher's aid at East Clark Elementary.

"You send them to school, you think it's safe, but apparently it's not," said parent Don Ulbrich.

Ed Brown is a custodian at Dike Montessori who was recently convicted on a weapons charge.

School cleaner Julius Sinclair did time for involuntary manslaughter and patient abuse. But even Sinclair's boss, the principal at Louis Aggassi Elementary, was unaware of his violent past.

All new school hires are fingerprinted and their backgrounds are checked by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification.

Bennett says annual background checks of existing employees would be a budget buster.

"We estimate it would cost a little over a half million dollars a year if we were to do a background check yearly for everybody," she said.

But Carl Monday found a dozen employees who committed crimes after they were hired by simply logging onto the Internet.

The schools do random checks of existing employees, but only a fraction of the 5,000 workers are checked annually.

As a result of Carl Monday's investigation, Byrd-Bennett says the schools will hire a company to step up the random criminal checks, starting with all custodians.

Netters ended up being fired after Carl Monday's report.

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