By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Lee County School District immediately will begin requiring all of its substitute teachers to undergo background checks.
The district’s school board approved on Tuesday a policy that will require the procedure for all of those on the district’s substitute roles.
The move comes after former Lee County substitute teacher Blake Whitt was charged with sexual battery on Jan. 9 for an alleged sexual relationship with a student.
“For safety’s sake, we wanted to make sure we dot all of the Is and cross all of the Ts when we bring people into the classroom to work with students,” Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said.
Substitutes can go to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to undergo the background check, which will be done through the FBI and National Crime Information Center.
Substitutes will be required to foot the $32 bill for the tests. Weeks said it takes “a couple of weeks” to get the results of the background check. Those already on the district’s list will have a grace period.
Previously, Weeks said, substitutes had to fill out a form and meet with the school’s principal prior to being approved.
The district recently began also requiring parents to get background checks if they work alone with students or are supervising them on field trips. The district will help with that cost.
The Tupelo School District requires background checks on its substitute teachers and does so for parents who supervise students.