Hiring "Qualified" Teachers

by Larry Little

Everyday parents trust the safety of their children with East Texas School Districts, whether it's in the classroom or on the school bus. "I've met a couple of his teachers but I haven't met all of his teachers," says Christie Lewis.

Christie Lewis' son is in the 11th grade and, like many parents in East Texas, she hopes school districts are hiring only the best.

John Karr, the man who authorities say falsely confessed to killing Jon Benet Ramsey and was later arrested on child porn charges is an example of a school teacher who beat the system.  He taught in different states and around the world despite a shady background.

"Teachers are called out and they should be held up to a high moral standards because we should be examples to our children," says Lewis.

Assistant Superintendent Johnny Giles is in charge of hiring school employees for the Lufkin ISD. "Once we get the application we do a criminal history check statewide for all employees, whether it's a teacher's aide or bus driver.  And if we see any ripples, they are contacted and they have to see me," says Johnny Giles.

Although school districts do a criminal background check, there is no guarantee a teacher won't slip through the cracks and end up in an East Texas classroom. "We do all that we can but nothing is guaranteed, but we do the best that we can," says Giles.