Bill requires background checks on mentors


The House of Representatives has passed legislation to make educational mentoring programs safer for the students.

Introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and passed last week, House bill 2012-H 7077 will require a national and state criminal background check for any person seeking to participate in a mentoring program working with students.

State law already requires background checks for individuals seeking employment with a private school or public school department, “and this legislation simply expands the scope of that law to include others who will have direct and regular contact with young people, in school settings or other mentoring situations,” said McNamara, Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

“As programs such as these grow in school settings, adding this language to law is the safe and responsible thing to do,” he said.

The bill was introduced at the recommendation of the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership, a non-profit organization that provides training and support for mentoring agencies in the state. The group operates the Feinstein Mentor Training Institute and one-on-one school-based mentoring programs in Warwick, Woonsocket and on Aquidneck Island.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.


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