Spokane Public Schools will not 'ban the box' despite new city-wide ordinance

There are a few Washington state laws that keep public and private schools exempt from Spokane's new "ban the box" ordinance.

This week the City of Spokane passed a "ban the box" ordinance that will allow people with criminal convictions or arrest records to apply for a job without disclosing that history on their application. 

So city businesses can no longer ask for your criminal history on an application. They have wait until after meeting with potential candidates in person to ask about criminal history. 

That's not the case for every industry though.

There are a few Washington state laws that keep public and private schools exempt from Spokane's new "ban the box" ordinance. 

One law says (RCW 28A.400.303) school districts hiring employees who will have regular unsupervised access to children must require a record check. 

Another state law (28A.195.080) applies to private schools. It allows them to require a background check, one that includes fingerprint checks as well. 

Even the state's general requirements for teacher certifications (WAC 181-79A-150) states school employees must complete a background check. 

Spokane Public Schools Communication Director Kevin Morrison said despite the city's ordinance, the district will continue asking potential candidates about their criminal history on their job application.

"Obviously our children's safety is going to be number one, and the trust and confidence of parents and the community that we're hiring the best and qualified candidates," Morrison said. 

Morrison adds that the district's online application also offers a section where the applicant can explain the circumstances surrounding any background information they want the district to be aware of. 
 

© 2017 KREM-TV


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