The College of Education at the University of Oklahoma implemented a new policy this fall that requires students to have a background check before being admitted into the college, according to an article in The Oklahoma Daily. The new policy is an upgrade to the previous one, where the college depended on a university policy that required students to self-disclose “if there is anything in their backgrounds that would cause an issue for them or others, like felony charges,” and college-specific requirements that required a background check prior to student teaching, as well as signing a form “stating they meet the same standards as any professional teacher before going into the teaching field.”
The move comes after a former senior education major, Christopher Ray Flores, was arrested on February 13, 2013 and charged with lewd molestation “after a relative complained Flores had molested her 9-year-old son” according to an article in The Oklahoman. At the time of the arrest, Flores was working at an elementary school as part of the university’s pre-teaching practicum. The university suspended Flores after the arrest, and later implemented the background check requirement as part of the admissions process into the College of Education.
The College of Education at OU responded quickly with its new policy. Credit should be given to those at the university for taking the necessary steps that can help protect children and others who may be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people.