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Monday, June 18, 2007

NYS Mandatory Fingerprinting Bill

The following is a message from Elliot Pasik. If you live in NY State, please take appropriate action.

Dear Friends,

Last year, the NYS Legislature passed a law allowing the yeshivas and all nonpublic schools to fingerprint their employees, and conduct national FBI criminal history background checks. The law becomes effective July 1, 2007, and enables our schools to avoid hiring convicted sex offenders, and other dangerous criminals who should not be working near children.

The law received a good reception in our community, and this year, State Senator Dean Skelos, the Deputy Majority Leader, has sponsored and introduced a bill that will make the fingerprinting and background checks MANDATORY, just as it is for all public schools. Mandatory fingerprinting has twice been endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of America, in formal Resolutions enacted in May 2005, and May 2007 (they can be read on the RCA web site,; click onto Policies and Positions).

The bill was introduced in the State Senate on April 20, 2007, and was ordered printed on Thursday, June 14, 2007. That is usually the last step before a bill is voted upon. The Legislature session ends Thursday, June 21, 2007.

You can make a difference. PLEASE email the following State Senators and Assembly members, and express your support for the MANDATORY NONPUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEE FINGERPRINT BILL - S. 04707A.

Senator Skelos:;Senator Saland (Chair, Educ. Comm.):;

Assembly Speaker Silver:;Assembly Member Nolan (Chair,Educ.Comm.):;Assembly Member Weisenberg:

You can also be a big help by immediately spreading the word about this bill, such as by sending similar emails through other Yahoo groups in our community.

Tizku l'mitzvos, and feel free to contact me by email with any questions.

Elliot Pasik,
Esq.NYS Yeshiva Parents Association
Long Beach, New York


Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

About darn time!! Little too late, though, for victims of Yehuda Kolko, huh?

RaggedyMom said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. As a public school employee, I never understood why my students were more protected than my kids would eventually be.

At one point, I was working under a substitute-teacher-like designation (F-Status) in the NYC schools, and I had a photo-ID that had to be scanned every morning at the school to ensure that I hadn't been picked up by police and/or jailed the night before - which would have made me ineligible to teach that day.

gross said...

How much of an affect would this have in our yeshivas if most perpetrators of sexual abuse aren't reported in the first place? While I support this bill, I worry it might give people a false sense of security that now all will be well in yeshivas, while the problems of cover ups and denial still exists.

RaggedyMom said...

Gross - You're right that it's not a guarantee - but it is a step in the right direction. At the very least, the initial screenings should be in place.

Of course, there's a great deal to be done to protect the students even once someone has cleared the system initially. But shouldn't our kids at least have the same shot at protection as public school students?

A Simple Jew said...

"A phenomenon worth thinking about is why people give Tzedakah to other places and not to the school that’s teaching their children. It was amazing how many people angrily told me that it was because of the lack of compassion and feeling that was felt from the administration when they sat down to discuss tuition originally."

From here

Anonymous said...

The bill passed the State Senate last night, and was immediately delivered to the State Assembly, which will vote today or tomorrow, the last day of the Session. There are no guarantees, however. Please support this bill by sending emails to the Assembly leaders.

Elliot Pasik, Esq.