By Ginger Adam Otis (NY Post)
May 30, 2010
Statewide, only 17 private schools have submitted fingerprints since a 2007 law granted them the right, says the state Education Department.
Unlike public schools, private schools are not required by law to do extensive background checks. The 2007 law stopped short of making it mandatory.
Fingerprinting is a far more reliable way than a simple name check to look for priors, said lawyer Elliot Pasik, a member of an advocacy group that wants Albany to require all schools to fingerprint.
"Many do run applicants' names, but there are a lot of mistakes with that. People can give false identities, for example. It's very imperfect," said Pasik, who filed a Freedom of Information request with the state to find out which private schools ran fingerprints since 2007.
But state officials note that, so far, none of the background checks run by the Education Department for private schools has yielded an applicant with a criminal history.