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FCPS Mistakenly Hires Seven Felons, Doesn't Notice for Years

The hiring mistakes were discovered when one teacher asked if her drug smuggling past was what was holding up her promotion.

Fairfax County school officials admitted this week to mistakenly hiring seven felons. Patch file photo.
Fairfax County school officials admitted this week to mistakenly hiring seven felons. Patch file photo.
By Jennifer van der Kleut

Fairfax County Public Schools officials admitted Monday they mistakenly hired seven felons between 1996 and 2009—and didn't notice until 2012, after they had all worked for the district for many years.

The mistake was reportedly discovered when a teacher at Madison High School in Vienna asked if her previous conviction for smuggling heroin was what was stalling her pending promotion. 

According to a report by The Washington Postall seven of the felons were honest on their job applications and disclosed the felony convictions—but, despite the fact that all potential hires go through a background search that includes checking FBI, police and child-abuse databases, the school district failed to notice.

Hiring felons to jobs in schools is against the law in Virginia.

"The hirings all occurred before 2009, when Fairfax schools switched to an online application. The new system automatically disqualifies potential employees who disclose felonies on their application," the Post reported.

New FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza told the Post, "Human error played a part in these hirings and we deeply regret this mistake."

The school district said none of the seven employees in question are still working in their positions. According to the Post, three of them left the school district voluntarily, and the other four were placed on administrative leave recently.

FCPS has a pending court case in Fairfax County asking for permission to fire Deilia Butler, the Madison High teacher who previously served 42 months in jail for smuggling heroin in the 1990s. School officials told the Post they are confident they will be allowed to fire the other three employees after the court case is resolved as well.

The crimes of other other six employees were not disclosed in the report, but Garza told the Post that none of them involved crimes against children.

Read the full story on the Washington Post here.

TELL US - What are your thoughts about this news from Fairfax County Public Schools? Tell us in the comments.
Sarah Emmett January 28, 2014 at 08:35 AM
first the computer "reseller" now this...what is going on over there!
Kathleen January 28, 2014 at 11:20 AM
It doesn't seem fair to fire someone who honestly stated their conviction and has been a good employee for many years just because fcps found out.
Burke Resident January 28, 2014 at 03:32 PM
Pretty amazing that self confessions, FBI and police background checks would be totally ignored by an organization supposedly in the business of looking out for kids. Probably just the tip of the iceberg. Sad!!

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