School Teacher Background Checks

Former Dothan teacher, 34-year old Keaton Lamar Battle, was arrested for allegedly soliciting minors for sex. That is forcing school officials to look at the way they handle the submission of potential employees background information.

Dothan City School Superintendent Dr. Sam Nichols says, "Apparently the state department did an investigation, and they determined him to be suitable."

That letter of suitability regarding Keaton Battle was mailed to the Dothan City School board back in June; almost a year after Battle began working as a teacher at PASS Academy in Dothan.

But two months prior to that another letter was issued by state officials, this one outlining several discrepancies in Battle's record.

"The letter came in March to the individual and was never presented to the board. So the employment body had no knowledge that he had falsified information on his employment application," said Gayla White of Dothan City School Board.

On his application, Battle was asked if he was ever convicted of a crime other than a traffic violation. He said no.

He was arrested for simple battery on a minor a year earlier, in Seminole County Georgia, but those charges were dropped.

But no one in Dothan ever had a clue.

"We didn't know at that time. The state was still doing its investigation. We didn't know the status of the report at all," said Superintendent Nichols

Officials with the state department were unavailable to comment on why this situation was handled in the manner that it was.

But the ordeal is now leading local school officials to look at ways to collect a potential employee’s background information faster to expedite his or her background check and make sure that he or she is in fact suitable to be in a classroom with a child

Superintendent Nichols plans to have a recommendation ready to present to the board by next week, outlining how the board can expedite the background check process locally.

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