1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Chaney
House Bill 679
(As Passed the House)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-9-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER APPLICANTS AND TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN PERSONS DETERMINED THROUGH A BACKGROUND CHECK TO BE GUILTY OF A FELONY FROM TEACHING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES REGARDING CERTAIN EMPLOYMENT DECISIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-9-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-9-17. On or before April 1 of each year, the principal of each school * * * shall recommend to the superintendent of the school district * * * the certificated employees or noninstructional employees to be employed for the school involved except those certificated employees or noninstructional employees who have been previously employed and who have a contract valid for the ensuing scholastic year. The superintendent of the school district may conduct a criminal history background investigation on each person applying and recommended for a public or private school teaching position. If a background investigation is conducted and discloses a felony conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony of possession or sale of drugs, murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, rape, sexual battery, child abuse, arson, grand larceny, burglary, gratification of lust or aggravated assault which has not been reversed on appeal or for which a pardon has not been granted, the applicant shall not be eligible to teach and shall not be recommended for employment to the school board. However, the school district may, in its discretion, allow any applicant aggrieved by the superintendent's decision under this act to appear before the board of said school district at its next regular meeting. At said meeting, the board may override the superintendent if it finds by a majority vote on its minutes, extenuating circumstances exist and the applicant should be allowed to teach within said district, if the recommendations meet with the approval of the superintendent, * * * the superintendent * * * shall recommend the employment of such certificated employees or noninstructional employees to the school board, and, unless good reason to the contrary exists, the board shall elect the certificated employees or noninstructional employees so recommended. If, for any reason, the school board shall decline to elect any certificated employee or noninstructional employee so recommended, additional recommendations for the places to be filled shall be made by the principal, * * * to the superintendent and then by the superintendent to the school board as provided above. The school board of any school district shall be authorized to designate a personnel supervisor or another principal employed by the school district to recommend for a principal to the superintendent certificated employees; however, this authorization shall be restricted to no more than two (2) positions for each employment period for each school in the school district. The school board of any school district shall be authorized to designate a personnel supervisor or another principal employed by the school district to accept the recommendations of principals or their designees for certificated employees and to transmit approved recommendations to the board; however, this authorization shall be restricted to no more than two (2) positions for each employment period for each school in the school district.
When the certificated employees in a school district have been elected as provided in the preceding paragraph, the superintendent of the district shall enter into a contract with such certificated employees in the manner provided in this chapter.
If, at the commencement of the scholastic year, any certificated employee shall present to the superintendent a certificate of a higher grade than that specified in such individual's contract, such individual may, if funds are available from minimum education program funds of the district, or from district funds, be paid from such funds the amount to which such higher grade certificate would have entitled the individual, had the certificate been held at the time the contract was executed.
SECTION 2. No school district or school district employee shall be held liable in any employment discrimination suit in which an allegation of discrimination is made regarding an employment decision authorized under Section 37-9-17.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.