Beyond the Surface: The Importance of Background Checks in Maintaining School Security

Schools are meant to be safe havens where students can learn and grow without fear. Unfortunately, school security breaches, violent incidents, and gun violence continue to make headlines in the news. As a result, many schools have been forced to implement stricter security measures to ensure the safety of students, staff, and faculty. One such measure that is often overlooked is the importance of conducting thorough background checks on all school personnel. In this article, we will explore the significance of background checks in maintaining school security.

What are Background Checks?


A background check is a comprehensive screening process that involves verifying a person's criminal history, education, work experience, and other personal details. This process helps employers, including schools, make informed decisions when hiring new employees.

Types of Background Checks

There are different types of background checks, including criminal background checks, employment history verification, education verification, and reference checks. Criminal background checks are perhaps the most important type of background check for schools since they help identify any past criminal activities or convictions that could put students and staff at risk.

Why are Background Checks Important for Schools?

Preventing School Violence

Background checks are an essential part of maintaining school security because they help prevent violent incidents from occurring. By conducting thorough background checks, schools can identify any potential red flags in an applicant's criminal history that could indicate a potential for violence.

Protecting Students and Staff

Schools have a responsibility to protect their students and staff from harm. Background checks can help identify individuals with a history of violence or abusive behavior, which can prevent them from being hired to work in schools.

Complying with Legal Requirements

Background checks are often required by law for individuals working with children, including teachers, coaches, and other school personnel. Schools that fail to conduct proper background checks could be liable for any harm that occurs to students or staff as a result of an employee's actions.

How to Conduct Effective Background Checks

Hire a Professional Background Check Company

Schools can benefit from working with a professional background check company that specializes in conducting background checks for schools. These companies have access to databases and resources that can help them conduct more thorough background checks than schools could do on their own.

Follow State and Federal Laws

Schools must comply with state and federal laws when conducting background checks. These laws specify what information can be included in background checks and how they should be conducted.

Check References

Reference checks can provide valuable information about an applicant's work history and character. Schools should always check references, especially for positions that involve working with children.


Background checks are an essential part of maintaining school security. By identifying potential red flags in an applicant's criminal history or work experience, schools can prevent violent incidents and protect students and staff from harm. Schools should work with professional background check companies, follow state and federal laws, and check references to ensure that they conduct effective background checks.


What is included in a criminal background check?

A criminal background check typically includes information about an individual's past criminal convictions, arrests, and charges.

How long does it take to conduct a background check?

The time it takes to conduct a background check can vary depending on the complexity of the check and the resources available. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Can a school hire someone with a criminal record?

It depends on the nature of the crime and the position the individual is applying for. Schools must comply with state and federal laws when making hiring decisions.

Can schools conduct background checks on volunteers?

Yes, schools can conduct background checks on volunteers, especially if they will be working closely with children.

How often should schools conduct background checks on employees?

Schools should conduct background checks on all new employees before hiring them. After that, they may choose to conduct periodic checks, depending on state and federal laws, as well as their own policies and procedures.