Substitute background checks explained after arrest

Local News

CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — School officials were shocked when a substitute teacher was arrested and accused of sexual assault.

The Regional Office of Education in Charleston explained how they screen substitutes before they’re hired. 

Adrian Rivas was wanted on a warrant in Texas for indecency with a child. He was arrested on Thursday while teaching at Jefferson Elementary School. He was arrested and appeared in court Friday morning. 

The Regional Office of Education is in charge of licensing substitute teachers. They say this is an unusual and unfamiliar situation.

Kyle Thompson, Assistant Regional Superintendent, says, “I don’t recall a time here in my five years that this has happened. In our process, it’s not easy to become a substitute teacher. You can’t just walk in and say hey I want to be a sub, sign me up. There’s a rigorous process in terms of a background check.” 

Background checks go through state police and FBI. 

His warrant was issued on January 19th. But warrants don’t show up on those background checks, only convictions appear. Since Rivas submitted his background check before then, they didn’t know about his warrant. 

There’s a large shortage of substitute teachers in the state. Some adjustments have been made to the application process to make it easier for people to apply. But the regional superintendents office says there are no exceptions on the background checks. 

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