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April 05. 2014 11:12PM

School chief uncertain if record would have prevented hiring of teacher with felony conviction

CLAREMONT - Looking back, it's hard to say whether the Claremont School District would have hired Christopher LeBlanc or not.

"If we had seen the felony, we would have investigated it a bit. The felony was a 21-year-old man working through college. He stole some sensitive equipment, gave it to someone who sold it on the Web, and because it crossed state lines, the FBI became involved," school Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin said.

In his prior position as superintendent of the Marshfield School District in Marshfield, Mass., McGoodwin said, the background checks conducted for the district by the state included any and all run-ins the applicant would have had with law enforcement, including traffic tickets.

It was not uncommon to receive several pages on a job candidate, he said. If a 30-year-old job applicant had been brought before a judge at the age of 16 for alcohol possession, it would show up in the background check, McGoodwin said.

However, just as in New Hampshire, only certain crimes would bar an applicant from a position at a school, he said. So school officials would review other crimes or brushes with the law and would have to have a reason for not hiring that applicant.

"You look for a pattern," of drug use or violence, perhaps, McGoodwin said.

"Most adults do not have a record, but you will find certain adults that have done something inappropriate when they were younger," McGoodwin said.

Ultimately, "we want to be sure we are bringing the most solid men and women on board."


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