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Ongoing criminal background checks on tap for CMS employees

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CMS employees submit forms for criminal background checks. hspace=4

CMS will first conduct a national criminal background check on about 23,000 employees, including full-time, part-time, substitute and temporary staff. After that, random national checks will be scheduled. The district will also implement a nightly statewide check on each employee. CMS Chief Operating Officer Hugh Hattabaugh says previously, the district would conduct just one criminal check before hiring an employee. "We have had cases of employees charged with serious crimes involving drugs or violence that we did not learn about for some time. This happens because the crime takes place after the initial hiring check," he says. Superintendent Peter Gorman first called for more frequent criminal checks in June of 2007, after a teacher at Bruns Avenue Elementary was found in a classroom prepping for a shot of heroin. The district then learned he'd been charged with drug possession in Buncombe County two years before. The Charlotte-based Classroom Teachers Association says it supports the program. CMS officials say an overwhelming number of employees also support it.