Team 10 finds some school staff have access to children, never pass background check

San Diego school audit: no figerprint clearance

SAN DIEGO - Employees with access to school children never passed a background check, according to an internal audit by the San Diego Unified School District.

The audit states two employees at Hickman Elementary school in Mira Mesa did not complete background checks before they were allowed to interact with students.

"Two noon duty hourly employees started working without fingerprint clearance," reads the audit.

The San Diego Unified School District spokesman contradicted the internal audit.  He said the two employees mentioned were never actually hired, and he said they were never paid.

"They didn't pass their security check," district spokesman Jack Brandis wrote in an email to Team 10. "The district has no further comment as this involves personnel issues."

The school district would not elaborate on why the two employees mentioned in the audit did not pass their background checks.  The district would not release their names.

"That report to me is absolute nonsense," said Mike Saltzstein, the former vice president of USA youth swimming.

Saltzstein recently exposed James Pantera, who volunteered at Sierra High School as a swim coach.  Pantera has a felony record, which wasn't discovered because Pentera's background check was unfinished even though he was already working with students.

Across California Team 10 found a backlog of about 12,600 unprocessed reports of arrest and prosecution involving credentialed teachers.  According to a state wide audit in 2011 the Commission on Teacher Credentialing does not have enough trained staff to background check every credentialed teacher in California.

"These conditions appear to have resulted in delayed processing of alleged misconduct and potentially allowed educators of questionable character to retain a credential," the audit said.

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