The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 55th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, which convenes in January 2023.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
15-512. Noncertificated personnel; fingerprinting personnel; background investigations; affidavit; civil immunity; violation; classification; definition
A. Noncertificated personnel and personnel who are not paid employees of the school district and who are not either the parent or the guardian of a pupil who attends school in the school district but who are required or allowed to provide services directly to pupils without being supervised by a certificated employee and who are initially hired by a school district after January 1, 1990 shall be fingerprinted as a condition of employment except for personnel who are required as a condition of licensing to be fingerprinted if the license is required for employment or for personnel who were previously employed by a school district and who reestablished employment with that district within one year after the date that the employee terminated employment with the district. A school district may require noncertificated personnel and personnel who are not paid employees of the school district and who are not either the parent or the guardian of a pupil who attends school in the school district but who are required or allowed to provide services directly to pupils without being supervised by a certificated employee to obtain a fingerprint clearance card as a condition of employment. Even if the school district does not require a fingerprint clearance card as a condition of employment, noncertificated personnel and personnel who are not paid employees of the school district and who are not either the parent or the guardian of a pupil who attends school in the school district but who are required or allowed to provide services directly to pupils without being supervised by a certificated employee may apply for a fingerprint clearance card. A school district may release the results of a background check or communicate whether the person has been issued or denied a fingerprint clearance card to another school district for employment purposes. The employee's fingerprints and the form prescribed in subsection D of this section shall be submitted to the school district within twenty days after the date an employee begins work. A school district may terminate an employee if the information on the form provided under subsection D of this section is inconsistent with the information received from the fingerprint check or the information received in connection with a fingerprint clearance card application. The school district shall develop procedures for fingerprinting employees. For the purposes of this subsection, "supervised" means being under the direction of and, except for brief periods of time during a school day or school activity, within sight of a certificated employee when providing direct services to pupils.
B. Fingerprints submitted pursuant to this section shall be used to conduct a state and federal criminal records check pursuant to section 41-1750 and Public Law 92-544. The department of public safety may exchange this fingerprint data with the federal bureau of investigation.
C. The school district shall assume the costs of fingerprint checks and fingerprint clearance cards and may charge these costs to its fingerprinted employee, except that the school district may not charge the costs of the fingerprint check or the fingerprint clearance card to personnel of the school district who are not paid employees. The fees charged for fingerprinting shall be deposited with the county treasurer who shall credit the deposit to the fingerprint fund of the school district. The costs charged to a fingerprinted employee are limited to and the proceeds in the fund may only be applied to the actual costs, including personnel costs, incurred as a result of the fingerprint checks or the fingerprint clearance cards. The fingerprint fund is a continuing fund that is not subject to reversion.
D. Personnel required to be fingerprinted or obtain a fingerprint clearance card as prescribed in subsection A of this section shall certify on forms that are provided by the school and notarized whether they are awaiting trial on or have ever been convicted of or admitted in open court or pursuant to a plea agreement committing any of the following criminal offenses in this state or similar offenses in another jurisdiction, including a charge or conviction that has been vacated, set aside or expunged:
1. Sexual abuse of a minor.
3. First or second degree murder.
6. Sexual assault.
7. Sexual exploitation of a minor.
8. Felony offenses involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
9. Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor.
10. Felony offenses involving sale, distribution or transportation of, offer to sell, transport, or distribute or conspiracy to sell, transport or distribute marijuana or dangerous or narcotic drugs.
11. Felony offenses involving the possession or use of marijuana, dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs.
12. Misdemeanor offenses involving the possession or use of marijuana or dangerous drugs.
13. Burglary in the first degree.
14. Burglary in the second or third degree.
15. Aggravated or armed robbery.
17. A dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-705.
18. Child abuse.
19. Sexual conduct with a minor.
20. Molestation of a child.
22. Aggravated assault.
24. Exploitation of minors involving drug offenses.
E. A school district may refuse to hire or may review or terminate personnel who have been convicted of or admitted committing any of the criminal offenses prescribed in subsection D of this section or of a similar offense in another jurisdiction. A school district that is considering terminating an employee pursuant to this subsection shall hold a hearing to determine whether a person already employed shall be terminated. In conducting a review, the governing board shall utilize the guidelines, including the list of offenses that are not subject to review, as prescribed by the state board of education pursuant to section 15-534, subsection C. In considering whether to hire or terminate the employment of a person, the governing board shall take into account the following factors:
1. The nature of the crime and the potential for crimes against children.
2. Offenses committed as a minor for which proceedings were held under the jurisdiction of a juvenile or an adult court.
3. Offenses that have been expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction, if the person has been pardoned or if the person's sentence has been commuted.
4. The employment record of the person since the commission of the crime if the crime was committed more than ten years before the governing board's consideration of whether to hire or terminate the person.
5. The reliability of the evidence of an admission of a crime unless made under oath in a court of competent jurisdiction.
F. Before a person is employed with the school district, the district shall make documented, good faith efforts to contact previous employers of the person to obtain information and recommendations that may be relevant to the person's fitness for employment, including conducting a search of the educator information system that is maintained by the department of education pursuant to section 15-505. A school district may not employ in a position that requires a valid fingerprint clearance card a person against whom the state board of education has taken disciplinary action as prescribed in section 15-505 or whose certificate has been suspended, surrendered or revoked, unless the state board has subsequently reinstated the person's certificate. A governing board shall adopt procedures for conducting background investigations required by this subsection, including one or more standard forms for use by school district officials to document their efforts to obtain information from previous employers. A school district may provide information received as a result of a background investigation required by this section to any other school district, to any other public school and to any public entity that agrees pursuant to a contract or intergovernmental agreement to perform background investigations for school districts or other public schools. School districts and other public schools may enter into intergovernmental agreements pursuant to section 11-952 and cooperative purchasing agreements pursuant to rules adopted in accordance with section 15-213 for the purposes of performing or contracting for the performance of background investigations and for sharing the results of background investigations required by this subsection. Information obtained about an employee or applicant for employment by any school district or other public school in the performance of a background investigation, including any records indicating that a current or former employee of a school or school district was disciplined for violating policies of the school district governing board pursuant to section 15-153, may be retained by that school district or the other public school or by any public entity that agrees pursuant to contract to perform background investigations for school districts or other public schools and may be provided to any school district or other public school that is performing a background investigation required by this subsection.
G. A school district may fingerprint or require any other employee of the district to obtain a fingerprint clearance card, whether paid or not, or any other applicant for employment with the school district not otherwise required by this section to be fingerprinted or obtain a fingerprint clearance card on the condition that the school district may not charge the costs of the fingerprint check or fingerprint clearance card to the fingerprinted applicant or nonpaid employee.
H. A contractor, subcontractor or vendor or any employee of a contractor, subcontractor or vendor who is contracted to provide services on a regular basis at an individual school shall obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card pursuant to title 41, chapter 12, article 3.1. A school district governing board shall adopt policies to exempt a person from the requirements of this subsection if the person's normal job duties are not likely to result in independent access to or unsupervised contact with pupils. A school district, its governing board members, its school council members and its employees are exempt from civil liability for the consequences of adoption and implementation of policies and procedures pursuant to this subsection unless the school district, its governing board members, its school council members or its employees are guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
I. Subsection A of this section does not apply to a person who provides instruction or other education services to a pupil, with the written consent of the parent or guardian of the pupil, under a work release program, advance placement course or other education program that occurs off school property.
J. Public entities that agree pursuant to contract to perform background investigations, public schools, the department of education, the state board of education and previous employers who provide information pursuant to this section are immune from civil liability unless the information provided is false and is acted on by the school district to the harm of the employee and the public entity, the public school, the previous employer, the state board of education or the department of education knows the information is false or acts with reckless disregard of the information's truth or falsity. A school district that relies on information obtained pursuant to this section in making employment decisions is immune from civil liability for use of the information unless the information obtained is false and the school district knows the information is false or acts with reckless disregard of the information's truth or falsity.
K. The superintendent of a school district or chief administrator of a charter school or the person's designee who is responsible for implementing the governing board's policy regarding background investigations required by subsection F of this section and who fails to carry out that responsibility is guilty of unprofessional conduct and is subject to disciplinary action by the state board.
L. A school district may hire noncertificated personnel before receiving the results of the fingerprint check or a fingerprint clearance card but may terminate employment if the information on the form provided in subsection D of this section is inconsistent with the information received from the fingerprint check or the fingerprint clearance card. In addition to any other conditions or requirements deemed necessary by the superintendent of public instruction to protect the health and safety of pupils, a school district may hire noncertificated personnel who are required or allowed unsupervised contact with pupils before the results of a fingerprint check are received or a fingerprint clearance card is issued if the school district does all of the following:
1. Documents in the applicant's file the necessity for hiring and placing the applicant before a fingerprint check could be completed or a fingerprint clearance card could be issued.
2. Ensures that the department of public safety completes a statewide criminal history information check on the applicant every one hundred twenty days until the date that the fingerprint check is completed or the fingerprint clearance card is issued or denied.
3. Obtains references from the applicant's current employer and two most recent previous employers except for applicants who have been employed for at least five years by the applicant's most recent employer.
4. Provides general supervision of the applicant until the date that the fingerprint check is completed or the fingerprint clearance card is issued or denied.
5. Reports to the superintendent of public instruction on June 30 and December 31 each year the number of applicants hired before the completion of a fingerprint check or the issuance of a fingerprint clearance card. In addition, the school district shall report the number of applicants for whom fingerprint checks were not received or fingerprint clearance cards were not issued after one hundred twenty days and after one hundred seventy-five days of hire.
M. Notwithstanding any other law, this section does not apply to pupils who attend school in a school district and who are also employed by a school district.
N. A person who makes a false statement, representation or certification in any application for employment with the school district is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
O. For the purposes of this section, "background investigation" means any communication with an employee's or applicant's former employer that concerns the education, training, experience, qualifications and job performance of the employee or applicant and that is used for the purpose of evaluating the employee or applicant for employment. Background investigation does not include the results of any state or federal criminal history records check.