M.G.L. c. 71, § 38R requires all schools to conduct criminal background checks on current and prospective employees and volunteers, including those who regularly provide school related transportation to students, who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children. CORI must be obtained from the CHSB at least every three years during an individual's term of employment or service.Unfortunately, laws nor guidance are in place in regards to what would or would not prohibit a school from hiring an individual based on their CORI check:
Neither the Department nor the CHSB can provide legal advice about how CORI information should affect a hiring, employment, or contracting decision. Decisions as to whether to dismiss an employee or volunteer, not to hire an applicant, or not to work with a particular contractor, based on an individual's criminal record information, should be made by the school or district in consultation with its legal counsel.and further:
The law requires certified agencies to adopt and maintain a CORI policy that is consistent with the CORI law. Your policy also must include the requirements described in the CORI regulations that took effect on June 30, 2005.While the policy adopted must contain a number of factors and indicators, it must also include, "7.process and standard of review for determining an individual's eligibility for employment or service based on the CORI record, including whether any criminal offenses may disqualify an individual.
This is where, if our sources are correct, we have an issue. While it seems (as per the 'wicked local' link listed above) Greg Kinnon was arrested several years ago (and while employed at the school), his employment never came into question as a result of this arrest. While we would imagine that his legal issues would not have gone much further, the fact remains that the school currently has an individual on their payroll (although we're not sure we want to say actually 'working' there), who has access to both campuses and hence all of our children, who has a propensity towards violence.
At the same time, the school has employed another individual, Martin Gately who has had his own legal issues (which we do not believe resulted in criminal charges, although we're not sure why not) that involve helping himself to funds that do not belong to him. While these issues may not be uncovered during the obligatory CORI check, it is a well known fact that Mr. Gately was hired as a result of his business and personal relationships with Neil Kinnon and Mayor Howard. Mr. Gately works out of the business office and as such, has access to the individuals and materials responsible for the finances of the school.While the past independent audit did not identify any instances of wrong-doing and or the possibility of such, it did state that that was also not the purpose of the audit and so not much attention was given to determining the security or vulnerability of the same. YET, the school has allowed someone who (regardless of how well known to his friends and family), has felt entitled to help himself to funds that were not his. In some ways this comes as no surprise considering that Mayor Howard has recently refused to terminate the employment of one of his staff members who was recently indicted as a result of his actions and associations.
Now to our issue, we have heard that a teacher at the school recently encountered legal issues of their own. Since we have not confirmed this information, we will not be including any identifying details but suffice to say, the school administration proceeded to challenge the employment of this individual and they were close to being terminating. We must state that the allegations that were involved did not include violence nor theft and that we do not know if they were charged with actual criminal charges or if the issue was dismissed. We are more upset that this individual was held to very different standards than other individuals within the school. While none of the charges or allegations for these 3 individuals included violent felonies or charges involving the endangerment of a child, the fact that the 'Kinnected' or 'Konnected' individuals were either treated differently or hired after their 'issue' is our concern. We know that the Board and Administration have been allowing their friends, family, and/or associates to be held to very different standards and expectations as everyone else, then we must ask, what else are they permitted to get away with that we DON'T know about?
BTW, we apologize to the individuals we have identified within this post as we do not enjoy airing others issues out in public but feel that they and the school have placed themselves above the laws and expectations of their counterparts. We do feel for these individuals for the troubles they have experienced and hardship they have brought upon their family members.
DESE CORI Laws: http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/advisory/cori.html
Greg Kinnon: http://www.wickedlocal.com/malden/homepage/x1010437226
Martin Gately: http://www.mass.gov/obcbbo/bd07-102.htm