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New Jersey Education Department Bars Volunteers, School Board Members Due to Criminal Convictions, Background Checks

March 23, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law - Background Checks

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain New Law

Persons in New Jersey who have been convicted of crimes may find the penalties for those crimes continue long after they have served out their sentence.  The New Jersey State Department of Education recently disqualified at least 17 people from volunteer positions because of previous criminal convictions.  Additionally, at least a dozen school board members and trustees have also been declared ineligible to serve because they did not comply with state criminal background checks.

These measures were taken under a new law that went into effect last year, which requires criminal background checks for all persons who want to serve on school boards or as charter school trustees.  The law was passed in July. The background check includes fingerprinting tests and costs $81.25.

Last month, the Department Of Education confirmed that, out of the 5,159 board members, 186 were declared ineligible to serve because they did not complete their checks before the December 31 deadline.  The deadline was then extended to January 27. 

However, according to many who have been told they cannot serve because they did not undergo background checks, their efforts to comply failed for a variety of reasons, including simply filing out the paperwork incorrectly.  Some members also claim that they had resigned before the testing requirement went into effect. 

The Department of Education rightly says that it will not delve into the criminal offenses that are uncovered.  However, an investigation of criminal record checks finds that many of the offenses revealed occurred decades back and include a number of crimes that did not result in any prison time. 

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, drug crimes, sex crimes, murder, fraud, assault and other crimes across New Jersey.

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