New Michigan Laws Aim to Protect School Children

LANSING, Mich., Several new Michigan laws designed to protect children from on-campus sexual predators went into effect Jan. 1.

The laws ban registered sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school (some exemptions apply) and prohibit schools from employing registered sex offenders. By July 2008, schools and day care centers must also take fingerprints and conduct background checks on job applicants and current employees.

Additionally, school employees and applicants charged with a crime are now required to report the arrest to the state Department of Education within three business days of their arraignment. Districts must put the salary of teachers who are convicted of certain crimes while they are employed into an escrow account during court proceedings. If the teachers are fired, they will be required to forfeit their earnings for that period.

Michigan State Police and the state departments of Information Technology and Education have also been tasked to develop and implement an automated system comparing school employee information with criminal records.

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