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The Globe ran a brief, “New Mass. law requires fingerprinting teachers,” from AP today about Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday signing a law that requires teachers to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks.

The governor’s press release framed it a little differently with the press release, “Governor Patrick signs legislation to close loophole in existing background checks law and increase protections for children across the commonwealth.” (You gotta love how PR people spin and editors interpret…)

According to the press release, “all newly hired teachers, school employees, bus drivers, subcontractors and early education and care and out-of-school time providers must undergo state and national background checks prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year.  All current employees must undergo national background checks over the next three years, prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year.”

Dan Kennedy, assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern and well-known media  analyst, has started a discussion on his blog, Media Nation, saying that the law chips away at freedom.

Is this what some Newton residents have been requesting, in the wake of the arrest of one of our teachers on child pornography-related charges? I don’t completely understand how this relates to the announcement at the May 29 School Committee meeting that Newton Public Schools will expand the background checks it performs on all new hires by checking the Sex Offender Registry Information system (SORI), a nationwide database of sex crime convictions. Maybe somebody who knows a lot more than I do can explain the connection?

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