Department of Education (PDE) Background Check Questions
22 P.S. 1-111 As Amended – Act 114 of 2006
February 6, 2009
1. Are school districts and private schools required to review the CHRI and make a fitness determination for employees of intermediate units who will work in the schools of the district and have contact with children?
No. The law recognizes intermediate units as public schools/ approved school entities that are responsible for reviewing the CHRI and making a fitness determination for their prospective employees who will work in their constituent public and private schools.
2. Is it appropriate for the intermediate unit, which recruits, screens and trains Guest Teachers to review the CHRI for prospective Guest Teachers in order to make a recommendation as to the applicant’s fitness for employment as Guest Teacher?
Yes. Under the Guest Teacher program, recognized by PDE, intermediate units are authorized to offer this service to constituent districts. The school district which employs a Guest Teacher is also required to review the CHRI and make a determination as to the fitness of the individual to be employed as a Guest Teacher in that school district. If the district employs the Guest Teacher, the district must make a copy of the CHRI for its records.
3. Are public and private schools required to review the CHRI and other background clearances of a Student Teacher Candidate to make a determination of the fitness of the individual to perform work that places the individual in contact with children?
No. The law places the responsibility for reviewing the CHRI and making the fitness determination on the Administrator of the educator preparation program in which the Student Teacher Candidate is enrolled. Under Act 114 of 2006, the Administrator of the educator preparation program is also responsible for maintaining a record of those clearances throughout the time that the individual participates in field experience and student teaching. The public or private school may request to review documentation of the CHRI and other background clearance reports.
PDE’s website includes a set of Q & As on background checks for student teachers.
4. Are school districts required to review the CHRI and other background clearances of the staff of postsecondary institutions when district students enroll in those post secondary institutions under Dual Enrollment programs?
No. The School Code, at 24 P.S. § 16-1604-B provides an exclusion for the 24 P.S. § 1-111 background checks when school students enroll in Dual Enrollment programs.
5. Are Volunteers in public and private schools required to obtain criminal background checks?
· The Public School Code at 24 P.S. § 17-1724-A, requires criminal background checks for Volunteers in Charter Schools and Cyber Charter schools.
· Act 114 of 2006 and the PA Public School Code, 24 P.S. § 1-111, do not require background checks for Volunteers in private schools and other public schools.
· Public and private schools may adopt policies requiring their volunteers to obtain background checks, if the school has such a policy, those Volunteers should use the PDE process for obtaining the federal criminal background check.
6. Does the system for reviewing the CHRI online, effective December 1, 2008, continue to provide the applicant with the opportunity to obtain “proof of print”?
Yes. After the applicant has been printed, the applicant may return to the Cogent Systems website and obtain the Registration ID for their report by clicking “Proof of Transaction (Receipts)”. Applicants must provide the Registration ID to their prospective employer.
7. How may an applicant obtain a change, correction or update of the CHRI?
Following is the Web site for a copy of Departmental Order 556-73 (Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 16.30 - 16.34) which describes how the subject of an FBI identification record may obtain a copy of his/her record to review or to obtain a change, correction, or updating of that record.
For more information please contact:
Phone: 717.783.3750 or