School Committee requests CORI checks for all members

November 19, 2009
By

The Everett School Committee has made a formal request for all of its members to submit a CORI report – a Criminal Offender Record Information – which lists any and all incidences members would have had with the court system.

The motion was submitted by School Committee Chairman Richard Baniewicz and after heated debate among the members, it was sent to the School Committee’s Committee on Rules.

The committee is chaired by School Committee member Lester MacLaughlin, vice-chairman Robert Carreiro and School Committeeman – Representative Steven Smith.

Smith asked that it be sent to the committee in order to determine what the punishment would be if a member refused to submit it.

All the members of the school committee except for Smith and Joseph Guiliano have submitted CORI reports which the school department has on file.

“This is nothing new,” said School Superintendent Fred Foresteire. “Last year, the school committee wanted all members to submit a CORI. At that time, Smith questioned the legality of it. The School Committee voted to direct me to send a letter to the city solicitor for her opinion as to whether or not school committee members are required to submit a CORI report.”

On January 28, 2008, City Solicitor Colleen Majia answered the School Committee’s request.

“School Committee members are not considered employees. However, each school committee member would be subject if he or she had unmonitored contact with children.”

Shortly after the city solicitor submitted the above recommendation the school committee established a policy requiring school committee members to submit a CORI report.

Neither Smith nor Guiliano submitted CORI reports at that time nor are they willing to today.

“No other school committee requires it,” Smith said at the Monday evening meeting of the School Committee.

This prompted Baniewicz to comment.

“I don’t care what is done in other communities. We want Everett’s public schools to be the safest in the Commonwealth,” he said.

School Committeeman Carreiro chimed in: “What’s the problem here. Does anyone have anything to hide?”

Smith asked if the CORI report is public information.

On Tuesday morning Foresteire said that the school department presently holds 800 CORI reports on employees, teachers, everyone who has contact with school children, including parents.

These reports are not public information.

“However, should a report be done and information shows and reveals behavior inconsistent with what is required in order to be around school age children, then that report can lead to measures being taken to restrict access to children. That’s what its for,” said Foresteire.