1012.467 Noninstructional contractors who are permitted access to school grounds when students are present; background screening requirements.—
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Noninstructional contractor” means any vendor, individual, or entity under contract with a school or with the school board who receives remuneration for services performed for the school district or a school, but who is not otherwise considered an employee of the school district. The term also includes any employee of a contractor who performs services for the school district or school under the contract and any subcontractor and its employees.
(b) “Convicted” has the same meaning as in s. 943.0435.
(c) “School grounds” means the buildings and grounds of any public prekindergarten, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, high school, or secondary school, or any combination of grades prekindergarten through grade 12, together with the school district land on which the buildings are located. The term does not include:
1. Any other facility or location where school classes or activities may be located or take place;
2. The buildings and grounds of any public prekindergarten, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, high school, or secondary school, or any combination of grades prekindergarten through grade 12, or contiguous school district land, during any time period in which students are not permitted access; or
3. Any building described in this paragraph during any period in which it is used solely as a career or technical center under part IV of chapter 1004 for postsecondary or adult education.
(2)(a) A fingerprint-based criminal history check shall be performed on each noninstructional contractor who is permitted access to school grounds when students are present, whose performance of the contract with the school or school board is not anticipated to result in direct contact with students, and for whom any unanticipated contact would be infrequent and incidental. Criminal history checks shall be performed at least once every 5 years. For the initial criminal history check, each noninstructional contractor who is subject to the criminal history check shall file with the Department of Law Enforcement a complete set of fingerprints taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or an employee of a school district, a public school, or a private company who is trained to take fingerprints. The fingerprints shall be electronically submitted for state processing to the Department of Law Enforcement, which shall in turn submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for national processing. The results of each criminal history check shall be reported to the school district in which the individual is seeking access and entered into the shared system described in subsection (7). The school district shall screen the results using the disqualifying offenses in paragraph (g). The cost of the criminal history check may be borne by the district school board, the school, or the contractor. A fee that is charged by a district school board for such checks may not exceed 30 percent of the total amount charged by the Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(b) As authorized by law, the Department of Law Enforcement shall retain the fingerprints submitted by the school districts pursuant to this subsection to the Department of Law Enforcement for a criminal history background screening in a manner provided by rule and enter the fingerprints in the statewide automated biometric identification system authorized by s. 943.05(2)(b). The fingerprints shall thereafter be available for all purposes and uses authorized for arrest fingerprints entered into the statewide automated biometric identification system under s. 943.051.
(c) As authorized by law, the Department of Law Enforcement shall search all arrest fingerprints received under s. 943.051 against the fingerprints retained in the statewide automated biometric identification system under paragraph (b).
(d) School districts may participate in the search process described in this subsection by paying an annual fee to the Department of Law Enforcement.
(e) A fingerprint retained pursuant to this subsection shall be purged from the automated biometric identification system 5 years following the date the fingerprint was initially submitted. The Department of Law Enforcement shall set the amount of the annual fee to be imposed upon each participating agency for performing these searches and establishing the procedures for retaining fingerprints and disseminating search results. The fee may be borne as provided by law. Fees may be waived or reduced by the executive director of the Department of Law Enforcement for good cause shown.
(f) A noninstructional contractor who is subject to a criminal history check under this section shall inform a school district that he or she has completed a criminal history check in another school district within the last 5 years. The school district shall verify the results of the contractor’s criminal history check using the shared system described in subsection (7). The school district may not charge the contractor a fee for verifying the results of his or her criminal history check.
(g) A noninstructional contractor for whom a criminal history check is required under this section may not have been convicted of any of the following offenses designated in the Florida Statutes, any similar offense in another jurisdiction, or any similar offense committed in this state which has been redesignated from a former provision of the Florida Statutes to one of the following offenses:
1. Any offense listed in s. 943.0435(1)(h)1., relating to the registration of an individual as a sexual offender.
2. Section 393.135, relating to sexual misconduct with certain developmentally disabled clients and the reporting of such sexual misconduct.
3. Section 394.4593, relating to sexual misconduct with certain mental health patients and the reporting of such sexual misconduct.
9. Section 827.03, relating to child abuse, aggravated child abuse, or neglect of a child.
(3) If it is found that a noninstructional contractor has been convicted of any of the offenses listed in paragraph (2)(g), the individual shall be immediately suspended from having access to school grounds and shall remain suspended unless and until the conviction is set aside in any postconviction proceeding.
(4) A noninstructional contractor who has been convicted of any of the offenses listed in paragraph (2)(g) may not be permitted on school grounds when students are present unless the contractor has received a full pardon or has had his or her civil rights restored. A noninstructional contractor who is present on school grounds in violation of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) If a school district has reasonable cause to believe that grounds exist for the denial of a contractor’s access to school grounds when students are present, it shall notify the contractor in writing, stating the specific record that indicates noncompliance with the standards set forth in this section. It is the responsibility of the affected contractor to contest his or her denial. The only basis for contesting the denial is proof of mistaken identity or that an offense from another jurisdiction is not disqualifying under paragraph (2)(g).
(6) Each contractor who is subject to the requirements of this section shall agree to inform his or her employer or the party to whom he or she is under contract and the school district within 48 hours if he or she is arrested for any of the disqualifying offenses in paragraph (2)(g). A contractor who willfully fails to comply with this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. If the employer of a contractor or the party to whom the contractor is under contract knows the contractor has been arrested for any of the disqualifying offenses in paragraph (2)(g) and authorizes the contractor to be present on school grounds when students are present, such employer or such party commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(7)(a) The Department of Law Enforcement shall implement a system that allows for the results of a criminal history check provided to a school district to be shared with other school districts through a secure Internet website or other secure electronic means. School districts must accept reciprocity of level 2 screenings for Florida High School Athletic Association officials.
(b) An employee of a school district, a charter school, a lab school, a charter lab school, or the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind who requests or shares criminal history information under this section is immune from civil or criminal liability for any good faith conduct that occurs during the performance of and within the scope of responsibilities related to the record check.
(8)(a) The Department of Education shall create a uniform, statewide identification badge to be worn by noninstructional contractors signifying that a contractor has met the requirements of this section. The school district shall issue an identification badge to the contractor, which must bear a photograph of the contractor. An identification badge shall be issued if the contractor:
1. Is a resident and citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien of the United States as determined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;
2. Is 18 years of age or older; and
3. Meets the background screening requirements under this section.
(b) The uniform, statewide identification badge shall be recognized by all school districts and must be visible at all times that a noninstructional contractor is on school grounds.
(c) The identification badge shall be valid for a period of 5 years. If a noninstructional contractor provides notification pursuant to subsection (6), the contractor shall, within 48 hours, return the identification badge to the school district that issued the badge.
(d) The Department of Education shall determine a uniform cost that a school district may charge a noninstructional contractor for receipt of the identification badge, which shall be borne by the recipient of the badge.
(e) This subsection does not apply to noninstructional contractors who are exempt from background screening requirements pursuant to s. 1012.468.
History.—s. 7, ch. 2007-207; s. 33, ch. 2010-154; s. 122, ch. 2013-18; s. 1, ch. 2013-73; s. 70, ch. 2013-116; s. 25, ch. 2016-24; s. 16, ch. 2016-104.