A new bill seeks to prevent persons with a criminal conviction in New Jersey from serving on school boards. The bill would also approve of criminal background checks on board members. The bill is being sponsored by Assemblymen Herb Conaway and Jack Connors and Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green. Bill A-444 was recently approved unanimously by the Assembly and the Senate.
The bill would disqualify a person who has been elected to the school board from serving if he has been convicted of a crime that, under current laws, would automatically bar him from serving as a teacher. According to the sponsors, the laws prevent a person with a criminal conviction from serving as a teacher. Therefore, similar laws should prevent a person from serving in a position that puts him in charge of education of an entire district.
The bill covers a broad range of first or second-degree crimes that would be covered under these restrictions. Under the bill, a person who is elected to serve as a member of the school board would be required to undergo a criminal background check within 30 days of his or her appointment or election. The member will bear the cost of the background check. That's not all. The bill will go even further to make sure that the oath of office is modified to include a declaration by the person that he has no criminal conviction that would've barred him from serving on the school board. A person who falsely swears that he has no criminal conviction, could be penalized with up to 18 months in prison as well as $10,000 in fines.
The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, assault, sex crimes, drug crimes, federal crimes and other crimes across New Jersey.