Jessica Lunsford Act

  • The Jessica Lunsford Act was passed in 2005.  Among other things, the Act required fingerprinting and background screening of any contractor who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present. The law had previously required this level of screening only with respect to contractor personnel who had direct contact with students.
    Businesses that engage in work on school property (construction, utilities, materials suppliers, delivery services, etc.) soon discovered a number of practical issues created by this background screening requirement, including:  (a) varying interpretations from school board to school board about what constitutes an offense involving ?moral turpitude? that would exclude a worker from school premises; (b) widely varying costs for background checks; and (c) the potential need for duplicative checks as workers move from one school district to another.
    SB 988, which recently passed the FL Legislature, will resolve many of these issues, as follows:
    • Instead of the vague standard, the bill sets forth a specific list of violent or sexual crimes that would exclude a contractor employee from working on school grounds when students are present.     
    • Exempts from fingerprinting and background screening any contractor personnel who are under the direct supervision of a person who has complied with the fingerprinting and background screening requirements.
    • Exempts from fingerprinting and background screening:  (a) a contractor working at a site fenced off from the rest of the school grounds; and (b) a contractor who makes brief visits to school grounds to provide pick-up or delivery services.
    • For screened contactor employees, the fee for the background check could be no more than 30% in excess of the actual cost of the FDLE/FBI criminal history check.  The results of the initial criminal history check must be made available to all school districts via a secure FDLE website.  If informed of an individuals prior screening, a school district would have to rely upon the information provided through the FDLE website, at no charge to the contractor or employee. 
    (information taken from