• CMS hires company that conducts 'more robust' criminal background checks

    By: Tina Terry

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Teachers getting arrested isn't just a Charlotte problem. It’s widespread.

    A Cleveland County high school teacher was charged with sex crimes with a student.

    In some cases, educators are hired even with arrest records.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials told Channel 9 they have made some major changes in the way they screen employees who work at schools.

    [RELATED: Former Cleveland Co. teacher charged with having inappropriate relationship with student[

    [Former West Charlotte student suing CMS, claiming teacher sexually assaulted him]

    [Former student's lawsuit against CMS moves forward]

    [Former CMS sub accused of indecent liberties with students faces more charges]

    [Channel 9 questions CMS' hiring policy after sex crimes accusations against former sub]

    [Former CMS sub accused of indecent liberties with students]

    It hired a new company called Background Investigation Bureau, which is a company that conducts a "more robust" criminal history check than the district used before.

    “There are literally thousands of firms, but how deep are they delving into the information how extensive is their search capability?" a local security expert said.

    Company officials said it has special "industry experts" and "technology" to help CMS. It also boasted of partnerships with 85 percent of North Carolina schools.

    "These students are supposed to feel safe where they're at,” parent Kylie Schwartz said.

    On Monday, Channel 9 reported that a former student is suing CMS, saying it could have stopped Duncan Gray, a former band director at West Charlotte High School, from sexually assaulting him in 2011.

    Last year, Channel 9 reported about four other cases involving CMS employees.

    Substitute teacher Lamont Barrett was charged with sex crimes against four students.

    Channel 9 learned that Barrett had multiple traffic arrests and a conviction of possession of marijuana.

    CMS said it hired Barrett because his past didn't indicate a danger to students.

    “You trust those teachers to watch your child,” Schwartz said. 

    CMS officials told Channel 9 that even if a candidate has a questionable background, it has to consider things like the nature of the incident, how long ago it occurred and whether that candidate presents a safety risk to students.

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