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​​Acts, Laws and Regulations​

​Act 4: I​​mpact on Background Check Renewal Period & Process

On Feb. 16, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 4, which included important amendments to Section 111 of the School Code concerning background checks.

Prior to Act 4 of 2016, background checks more than 12 months old could not be used for prospective school staff and service providers; however, Act 153 of 2015 amending the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) required Section 111 checks be renewed every 60 months. The passing of Act 4 aligns the School Code with the new CPSL requirement and permits any of the three required background checks to be used by potential applicants for up to 5 years (i.e., 60 months).

Currently, background check results are stored in the PA Safe Check Systems for five years.  School administrators are required to login to their PA Safe Check account to review applicant’s results.  Applicants are responsible for providing the UEID #’s to the school administrators.

Under the current PA Safe Check system, school administrators will have the ability to review CHRI reports from IDEMIA for up to five years.  However, if an applicant has an unofficial copy of the CHRI Report from Cogent, school administrators are permitted to accept an applicant’s paper copy of Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) reports that are between one and five years old.

In addition to the unofficial CHRI report, an applicant must complete and submit to a prospective employer the PDE Form 6004 (PDF), required by Section 111(j)(1) of the School Code, indicating that the applicant has not been disqualified from employment.​

Act 24: Report​​ing Arrests and Convictions

Act 24 of 2011 contains a number of significant changes to the Pennsylvania Public School Code that are designed to enhance the safety of school children. Among the changes, Act 24 amends Section 111 of the School Code to expand the list of prohibitive criminal offenses and ensure that then-current school employees who may not have been subject to a previous background check were required to provide assurances that they had not been previously arrested or convicted of a Section 111(e) offense.

Additionally, Act 24 requires that all school employees complete and return to their school administrator a PDE Form 6004 (PDF) within 72 hours of any arrest or conviction of an offense listed in Section 111(e). If an employee refuses to submit the form, Act 24 requires that the School Administrator submit the employee to a new background check under Section 111.  ​

Act 82: Court D​ecisions on Lifetime Bans on Employment for Certain Criminal Convictions

On December 13, 2012, Commonwealth Court issued opinions in three cases, each of which held that the lifetime ban on employing individuals convicted of certain crimes listed in the Pennsylvania School Code (24 P.S. § 1-111(e)) violated the Pennsylvania Constitution as applied to the individual plaintiffs involved. As there are several important impacts on school employers, PDE issued the Act 82 Guidance on Lifetime Bans (PDF) to school administrators concerning their continuing obligations under Section 111(e) of the School Code in light of these cases.​

Act 168: Employ​ment History Review

​As of December 22, 2014, a school entity or an independent contractor may not hire any applicant for a position in which the employee will have direct contact with children until the school entity has complied with the employment history review process delineated in Act 168 of 2014 (24 P.S. § 1-111.1).  Guidance on the procedures and forms for the employment history review may be found in the Act 168 Basic Education Circular.​​