The School Board of Bowling Green City Schools changed its policy to require anyone not directly employed by the district to submit to a background check.
School board members approved the amendment 4-0 at a special meeting Thursday. Member Tracy Hovest attended the meeting virtually and was unable to vote.
The action comes after it became known that a strength trainer hired by a third-party supplier was convicted of a teenage sex offence.
“We spoke at length about areas we thought we could improve our policy on and provided that information to our legal counsel,” board member Ginny Stewart said of conversations she had with the Department of Claims. district human resources.
Stewart, who is political liaison for the council, read the changes.
The change to the Criminal Record Check for School Board Contracted School Services section of its policy includes:
“Anyone who is not an employee of the board or an employee of a private company contracted to provide essential school services who wishes to work with a pupil or group of pupils…on council property must submit to a criminal background check including information from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
If the background check shows that a person has been convicted or pleaded guilty to any of the offenses described in Ohio Revised Code 3319.39(B)(1), the person will not be permitted to work with BGCS students on school property, the amendment states.
This revised code reads, except as provided in the rules adopted by the Department of Education pursuant to Division (E) of this Article and as provided in Division (B)(3) of this Article, no advice school board of a school district, no board of trustees of an educational service center, and no governing authority of a non-public charter school shall employ a person if the person has previously been convicted or pleaded guilty to any of the following acts: murder, criminal assault, threat, kidnapping, rape, solicitation, voyeurism, dissemination of content harmful to minors, procuring, obscenity or sexual content involving a child or intoxicated person, burglary, endangering children, carrying a concealed weapon, etc.
Zachary Gibson, a former high school strength coach, was convicted in November 2010 in Hardin County City Court of broadcasting harmful information to minors, a misdemeanor, after he was arrested in a park restroom when city police village was alerted. text messages Gibson, who was 18 at the time, had sent a 14-year-old boy.
Gibson, of Bowling Green, was never employed directly by the school district. He was fired on April 4 by Fastrak Performance after the company was made aware of unspecified allegations.
He was indicted in June by a Wood County grand jury on two counts of sexual assault, both third-degree felonies; two counts of unlawfully using an underage or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performances, both fifth-degree felonies; and attempted unlawful use of an underage or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance, also a fifth-degree felony.
According to the indictment, Gibson allegedly had sex with the same 16-year-old while coaching “or otherwise in a position of temporary or occasional disciplinary control over the boy.”
Gibson, who is 30, is also accused of possessing or viewing material or performances that show a minor in a state of nudity.
The offenses were allegedly committed between March 1 and April 30 or around that date.
Gibson worked with members of the Bowling Green High School basketball and baseball team as a strength and conditioning coach. He was employed by Fastrak Performance.
The indictment does not specify where the alleged offenses were committed.
As an independent contractor, Bowling Green Schools paid Perrysburg-based Fastrak Performance, which then paid Gibson. Background checks are not always performed on independent contractors, a company spokesperson said in April.
Under council policy, no person employed by a private company may work for the council unless they meet one of the following conditions: a private company provides proof that a criminal record check has been performed within the last five years in accordance with any applicant who has applied to the school district, or any routine interaction with a student is conducted in the presence of an employee of the district.
Superintendent Francis Scruci pointed this out in the existing policy, it states that as long as district employees are supervising and these people are not left alone, all is well.
“As was the case earlier this year, we followed board policy,” he said. “This clause…says that as long as there are employees who meet the qualifications, they are supervised.”
The policy went into effect immediately, leading Hovest to question its impact on the volleyball team’s intention to bring in an outside company this week.
She wonders if there will be enough time for them to make arrangements, if necessary.
“They will need to be informed as soon as possible and comply with the policy,” Stewart said.
Typically, outside agencies already have these background checks on file, said board member Ryan Myers.
Hovest also asked if there would be any changes to the administrative guidelines to incorporate the changes into this policy.
“At the moment it hasn’t been decided, but we will definitely look into that,” board chair Jill Carr said.
“It gives us a formula to follow, but we can do more than that,” board member Norm Geer said. “We can just say that our current policy is that no one will have contact with children unless they have a background check, period.”
Third-party providers are required to conduct background checks, he said.
“We just make sure they do,” Geer said. “And if they don’t, they can’t be with our children.”