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      Dougherty County school officials on employee background checks

      In light of recent charges of sexual misconduct involving Dougherty County School System officials, we asked what kind of background check officials make on those who come in close contact with your children every day.

      Every employee of the school system is subject to background checks. In fact, each employee has gone through two background checks. They are subject to a state check when they apply and a national check when they become a finalist for the position. Those background checks are renewed every three years.

      Each check covers the lifetime of the individual. If the person has been charged in the past, there will be a notation on the record about the judicial proceedings. However, if there is no formal charge, nothing will show up on the record. That means that a person can still be accused of a crime, but if there is not enough evidence to constitute a charge, it will not show up on the record.

      Many have argued the fact that the school board should have fired a Westover High School political science teacher charged with sexual misconduct instead of letting him resign. The fact that he resigned does not change the fact that he was charged. The board actually saves time and money be letting him resign, since they will not have to pay his unemployment benefits.

      We hold all employees to a higher standard because they have direct contact with our most precious asset-the students, our children. And you can't be too safe. You can never be too safe, said Dougherty County Police Chief Troy Conley.