Undergoing a Criminal Background Check

By: swissjohn
I have worked as a teacher and as a therapist and for both careers, I have had to have a criminal background check. This precautionary step is a great screening tool for employers who hire people who work with children. Recently, I have come across a few news articles that involve people who work with children who have a criminal record. Not everyone who works with children is required to have a criminal background check. This is a very disturbing trend and many school districts and childcare providers are taking steps to assure that their employees have a criminal background check before going into the field.

In addition to the criminal background check, many employers are requiring that employees have a clearance check that involves a history of child abuse. This is another screening tool that is essential for people who are going to work with children because it checks for crimes specific to children. A person may not pass a criminal background check because he was caught shoplifting when he was eighteen. The person may be a model citizen and he may be very good with children, but he will probably not secure a position because of the criminal background check.

Recently, I had to be fingerprinted to complete clearances for the University of Phoenix online education program. The state of Arizona requires teachers to have a fingerprint clearance in addition to the traditional criminal background check. I wasn't concerned about the results of the fingerprint background check, but I did have to take my five-month-old daughter to the police station so mommy could get fingerprinted by the local police.

For some reason I did not give a second thought to the criminal background check, but the fingerprint clearance gave me bad dreams. I guess that it had to do with having to take a baby to a police station or just good old-fashioned guilt, but I kept dreaming that the fingerprints came up in an investigation for a major crime. The dreams were really disturbing and I told my husband that I must have a guilty conscious. He thinks that it has to do with the realization that the Federal Government makes the fingerprint clearance and I'm beginning to see things on a larger scale.

Maybe the guilty dreams have to do with the fact that no one is perfect. We have all made mistakes and we have all had to face the consequences for our mistakes. Passing a criminal background check is no problem for a law-abiding citizen like me, but passing a fingerprint background check seems to strike me on a more personal level. After all, a part of me is literally cleared through the state. I guess that I realize that I am not perfect and I should feel lucky to have an opportunity to touch the lives of our children through my career.
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