§ 115C‑238.29K. Criminal history checks.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Criminal history" means a county, state, or federal criminal history of conviction of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, that indicates an individual (i) poses a threat to the physical safety of students or personnel, or (ii) has demonstrated that he or she does not have the integrity or honesty to fulfill his or her duties as school personnel. These crimes include the following North Carolina crimes contained in any of the following Articles of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes: Article 5A, Endangering Executive and Legislative Officers; Article 6, Homicide; Article 7A, Rape and Kindred Offenses; Article 8, Assaults; Article 10, Kidnapping and Abduction; Article 13, Malicious Injury or Damage by Use of Explosive or Incendiary Device or Material; Article 14, Burglary and Other Housebreakings; Article 15, Arson and Other Burnings; Article 16, Larceny; Article 17, Robbery; Article 18, Embezzlement; Article 19, False Pretense and Cheats; Article 19A, Obtaining Property or Services by False or Fraudulent Use of Credit Device or Other Means; Article 20, Frauds; Article 21, Forgery; Article 26, Offenses Against Public Morality and Decency; Article 26A, Adult Establishments; Article 27, Prostitution; Article 28, Perjury; Article 29, Bribery; Article 31, Misconduct in Public Office; Article 35, Offenses Against the Public Peace; Article 36A, Riots, Civil Disorders, and Emergencies; Article 39, Protection of Minors; and Article 60, Computer‑Related Crime. These crimes also include possession or sale of drugs in violation of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes, and alcohol‑related offenses such as sale to underage persons in violation of G.S. 18B‑302 or driving while impaired in violation of G.S. 20‑138.1 through G.S. 20‑138.5. In addition to the North Carolina crimes listed in this subdivision, such crimes also include similar crimes under federal law or under the laws of other states.
(2) "School personnel" means any:
a. Member of the board of directors of a charter school,
b. Employee of a charter school, or
c. Independent contractor or employee of an independent contractor of a charter school if the independent contractor carries out duties customarily performed by school personnel,
whether paid with federal, State, local, or other funds, who has significant access to students or who has responsibility for the fiscal management of a charter school.
(b) The State Board of Education shall adopt a policy on whether and under what circumstances school personnel shall be required to be checked for a criminal history. The policy shall not require school personnel to be checked for a criminal history check before preliminary approval is granted under G.S. 115C‑238.29B. The Board shall apply its policy uniformly in requiring school personnel to be checked for a criminal history. The Board may grant conditional approval of an application while the Board is checking a person's criminal history and making a decision based on the results of the check.
The State Board shall not require members of boards of directors of charter schools or employees of charter schools to pay for the criminal history check authorized under this section.
(c) The Board of Education shall require the person to be checked by the Department of Justice to (i) be fingerprinted and to provide any additional information required by the Department of Justice to a person designated by the State Board, or to the local sheriff or the municipal police, whichever is more convenient for the person, and (ii) sign a form consenting to the check of the criminal record and to the use of fingerprints and other identifying information required by the repositories. The State Board shall consider refusal to consent when deciding whether to grant final approval of an application under G.S. 115C‑238.29D and when making an employment recommendation. The fingerprints of the individual shall be forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigation for a search of the State criminal history record file, and the State Bureau of Investigation shall forward a set of fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. The Department of Justice shall provide to the State Board of Education the criminal history from the State and National Repositories of Criminal Histories of any school personnel for which the Board requires a criminal history check.
The State Board shall not require members of boards of directors of charter schools or employees of charter schools to pay for the fingerprints authorized under this section.
(d) The State Board shall review the criminal history it receives on an individual. The State Board shall determine whether the results of the review indicate that the individual (i) poses a threat to the physical safety of students or personnel, or (ii) has demonstrated that he or she does not have the integrity or honesty to fulfill his or her duties as school personnel and shall use the information when deciding whether to grant final approval of an application for a charter school under G.S. 115C‑238.29D and for making an employment recommendation to the board of directors of a charter school. The State Board shall make written findings with regard to how it used the information when deciding whether to grant final approval under G.S. 115C‑238.29D and when making an employment recommendation.
(e) The State Board shall notify in writing the board of directors of the charter school of the determination by the State Board as to whether the school personnel is qualified to operate or be employed by a charter school based on the school personnel's criminal history. At the same time, the State Board shall provide to the charter school's board of directors the written findings the Board makes in subsection (d) of this section and its employment recommendation. If the State Board recommends dismissal or nonemployment of any person, the board of directors of the charter school shall dismiss or refuse to employ that person. In accordance with the law regulating the dissemination of the contents of the criminal history file furnished by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Board shall not release nor disclose any portion of the school personnel's criminal history to the charter school's board of directors or employees. The State Board also shall notify the school personnel of the procedure for completing or challenging the accuracy of the criminal history and the personnel's right to contest the State Board's determination in court.
(f) All the information received by the State Board of Education or the charter school in accordance with subsection (e) of this section through the checking of the criminal history is privileged information and is not a public record but is for the exclusive use of the State Board of Education or the board of directors of the charter school. The State Board of Education or the board of directors of the charter school may destroy the information after it is used for the purposes authorized by this section after one calendar year.
(g) There shall be no liability for negligence on the part of the State Board of Education or the board of directors of the charter school, or their employees, arising from any act taken or omission by any of them in carrying out the provisions of this section. The immunity established by this subsection shall not extend to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that would otherwise be actionable. The immunity established by this subsection shall be deemed to have been waived to the extent of indemnification by insurance, indemnification under Articles 31A and 31B of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, and to the extent sovereign immunity is waived under the Tort Claims Act, as set forth in Article 31 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. (1997‑430, s. 2; 2012‑12, s. 2(qq).)