Criminal Background Check Requirements
One of the highest priorities of any school is the safety of their students. Screening of any individual working with students is an important precaution. Consequently, we require background checks from every WCU student requesting a field placement through the Office of Field Experiences.
Background check results are available to school personnel, program advisors and others as necessary for the placement process. A thorough and honest explanation of one seemingly minor incident showing growth and lessons learned will allow placement in some schools, but even one "minor" offense may keep a student from being accepted for placement in other schools. Crimes of violence, felonies, multiple charges that demonstrate patterns of poor judgment, and any very recent infractions are regarded seriously and may prevent acceptance in any school. Lying on an application is grounds for refusal to place as well as for administrative action. A criminal history may prevent the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction from granting a teaching license and may prevent employment in a school in any capacity. Students with criminal charges continue in the program at their own risk.
Initial Background Check Procedures
Prior to approval of their first field experience at WCU, students are required to obtain a comprehensive background check through CertifiedBackground.com. Letters from school personnel offices, background checks through a local courthouse, and background checks from work are not acceptable substitutes, though these and other documents may be required in addition to the background check. The report may take 3 to 5 days to receive, and so students are urged to begin the process by the first week of the semester. Delay may make placement impossible.
Students Who Are Billed the Fee
A fee has been implemented to cover the cost of the background checks performed for undergraduate degree seeking students enrolled in EDCI 201, PSY 323, SPED 339, and BK students. All of these students will need to go to www.certifiedbackground.com and use the information that follows to initiate a criminal background check.
User code: CU98
Students Who Are Not Billed the Fee
Graduate, certification ONLY students, and special groups of students ( such as EDCI 191 – WHEE Teach and students applying for internship for Spring 2015 who are not enrolled in SPED 339 or PSY 323 for Fall 2014) who are required to complete a background check will incur the cost individually when initiating the check with Certified Background. These students will use a different user code, no pin is required.
User code: WG18
This same report will generally serve for future field experiences up to internship and should be saved to attach to every application. The company may charge more to resend the report. Attach the report to the TaskStream application.
Background Check Issues
Students with any arrests, dismissals or convictions showing on the report should contact the Director of Field Experiences immediately and must write a full explanation including circumstances, court disposition, any penalties such as community services and lessons learned in order to provide assurance that no further problems will occur. The background check report and explanation will be attached to all applications for field placements. Court documents may also be required. Complex issues will be reviewed by a committee to determine if placement should be attempted. If the committee recommends that placement not be attempted, the student will be notified that he/she will not be placed. Should the committee recommend that the OFE try to arrange a placement, the request including background check report and explanation will be sent to 3 schools/school systems. If all 3 decline the request, the student will not be placed. Students who cannot be placed continue in the class at risk of failure. Appeals go through the Associate Dean of the CEAP.
If you are arrested after the initial background check, you must contact the Director of Field Experiences within 72 hours. Failure to disclose criminal charges may disqualify you from WCU field placements.
A current background check is required as part of the internship/student teaching application on TaskStream. Students who have completed the initial comprehensive background check in an earlier field experience should do a "recheck" through CertifiedBackground.com using the package code specified above and adding 're' to the end (ie: CU98re or WG18re).
Students applying for internship, student teaching or a graduate practicum who have not had a previous field experience at WCU should follow the instructions for the initial background check as described above.