House Bill 18-1269 was passed during the 2018 legislative season with an effective date of August 15th, 2018. The law creates a new section, 22-1-130 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.). Below, some general frequently asked questions are addressed. The CDE encourages districts, BOCES, and charter schools to seek advice from their own legal counsel with regard to local implementation of 22-1-130.
This statute requires public school districts, Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) and charter schools to notify parents of students anytime a school employee is charged with certain crimes. The statute requires that the notification be made within 2 school days after the employee has had or has waived a preliminary hearing. The new requirement applies to current employees as well as former employees who were employed at any time within the 12 months before the offense is charged. It applies to any employee (current or former) that had access to students within that 12 month time period before the employee was charged, which includes certified and classified staff members.
Q: What are the crimes that shall be reported to the parents of students that were accessible by the employee in the past 12 months?
A: The following crimes shall be reported to parents of students that were accessible by the employee in the last 12 months: (1) Felony child abuse, (2) a crime of violence, as defined in 18-1.3-406 (C.R.S.), (3) felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior, (4) felony indecent exposure, as defined in 18-7-302 (C.R.S.), (5) felony domestic violence, (6) felony drug offense.
Q: Who makes this notification to parents?
A: All "local education providers," as defined in 22-1-130(2)(b) (C.R.S.) as a Colorado school district, Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES), and charter schools.
Q: Is this requirement for all employees, including certified (licensed teachers) and classified (bus drivers, nutrition services, etc)?
A: Yes, this includes any employee of a school district, BOCES or charter school where that employee has access to students within the past 12 months from the date they were charged.
Q: Does the school district, BOCES or charter school have to notify all parents?
A: No. The law requires the district, BOCES or charter school to notify those parents of students:
1. enrolled in the school in which the employee is employed or was employed at the time of the alleged criminal offense; or
2. with whom the district/BOCES/charter school has reason to believe the employee or former employee may have had contact as part of his/her employment.
Q: Who notifies the school district, BOCES or charter school of the arrest on our employee?
A: All school districts, BOCES or charter schools should have submitted fingerprints to the CBI on all employees prior to employment. For non-licensed staff in a public school/BOCES, section 22-32-109.8 (C.R.S.), states that any person applying to any school district for any position which a license is not required (pursuant to the Educator Licensing Act), shall submit a fingerprint card to the CBI for the purpose of a national criminal history check. For non-licensed staff in a charter school, section 22-30.5-110.7 (C.R.S.), states that a person whom an offer of employment is extended shall submit a fingerprint card to the CBI for the purpose of a national criminal history check. In both cases, once fingerprints have been received by the CBI, CBI will send the agency that submitted the fingerprint card any Colorado subsequent arrest report.
For licensed staff, if the district/BOCES/charter school does not submit a separate set of fingerprints to CBI, those subsequent arrest reports are received by CDE and we post those in the eLicensing Verification Access for authorized district personnel to retrieve as often as they like.
Q: Does the school district, BOCES or charter school notify parents immediately after receiving notification of the arrest?
A: The statute states that the school district, BOCES or charter school has 2 school days to make the notification once the employee has had or has waived a preliminary hearing on one of the crimes above or has been charged, if the offense is not eligible for a preliminary hearing. Section 22-1-130(3)(a) (C.R.S.), states that the school district, BOCES or charter school shall monitor the criminal proceedings and once the employee has had or has waived a preliminary hearing or has been formally charged, the school district, BOCES or charter school then has 2 school days to make the notification.
Q: How can the school district, BOCES, or charter school make the notification?
A: The notification may be an email, other electronic communication or sent directly to parents via first-class mail. The school district, BOCES or charter school shall provide notice to the parents of the disposition of the charge using the same notification method as the original notice to the parents, pursuant to section 22-1-130(4)(d) (C.R.S.).
Q: What if the arresting police or sheriff's office asks that the school district, BOCES or charter school not release anything?
A: Pursuant to section 22-1-130(4)(e) (C.R.S.), if this occurs the notification can be delayed until the arresting law enforcement agency withdraws their request to postpone the notification. This may be important to the law enforcement's case, so always check with them when confirming that the employee has been formally charged.
Q: Does the school district, BOCES or charter school still have to notify parents of a criminal charge if it is not school-related?
A: Yes, pursuant to 22-1-130(4)(f) (C.R.S), the school district, BOCES or charter school shall notify parents regardless if the charge occurred while the employee was on duty or was school-related.
Q: What information does the school district, BOCES or charter school need to include in this parent notification?
A: At a minimum, the notification must include the name of the employee, their title, whether or not they are currently employed by the school district, BOCES or charter school, how long they were employed by that school district, BOCES or charter school, the alleged offense (to include the violation statute or code) and a statement that, "Under state and federal law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty." Additional information may be included regarding the underlying facts or circumstances relating to the charge, but shall NOT disclose the identity of any alleged victim(s).
Q: What if the employee is a substitute that works in several districts?
A: If this is the case, each district in which the substitute has had access to students in the past 12 months, shall make this notification to the parents of those students, if the employee is charged with one of the crimes above. In order to ensure appropriate notification, verify the substitute holds a substitute authorization with CDE and always verify the certificate they provide against the eLicensing Verification Access or public lookup.