Alice ISD says it conducts background checks on potential subs

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

A female substitute teacher who allegedly taped the mouth of a 7-year-old Salazar student last Thursday was not fired by the district, Alice ISD officials said Wednesday.

She has been removed from the substitute list until the results of an Alice Police Department investigation are completed.

AISD Personnel Director Javier Cavazos said depending on the outcome of the investigation, the district will determine the employment status of the substitute.

Currently, Cavazos let the other campus principals know that in the meantime, "this particular substitute is not to be called in," Cavazos said. There are currently 120 individuals on the substitute list.

At all levels of student interaction, from parent volunteer to full-time professional, the district employs a rigorous hiring process, Cavazos said. The female substitute in question does not have a criminal history, he said.

Substitute teachers supply background information such as education and work history in their applications.

A substitute must have 45 hours of college credit to be considered for a position. Immediately after the application is submitted, the applicant is subjected to a criminal background check stretching back 10 years.

"Some districts only go back five years," Cavazos said. "Some are more lenient when it comes to offenses."

Crimes concerning child molestation and substance abuse are areas of disqualification when considering a new applicant. If a felony appears on the history check, the process is stopped right there.

"If it's a felony, you can't go there," Cavazos said.

During his eight years as personnel director, Cavazos said the extensive criminal checks have kept the district out of potential situations.

"In the last eight years, I've only had to address situations one or two times. It isn't a common issue," Cavazos said. "These checks are in place for safety purposes, to ensure a safe atmosphere for students and employees in our schools."