Gov. Susana Martinez. Courtesy image
Governor Orders Immediate School Personnel Background Check Policy & Compliance Review For All 89 School Districts: AG Orders Investigation Into Hiring
Submitted by Carol A. Clark
SANTA FE — In response to recent revelations that Albuquerque Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez was hired this summer in spite of facing criminal sexual assault charges against a minor in Colorado, Gov. Susana Martinez is ordering compliance investigators with the State Public Education Department and individuals from the Department of Public Safety to conduct an immediate review of background check policies for each school district in the state and undertake a thorough compliance review to ensure school districts are requiring personnel to receive timely criminal background checks.
“Jason Martinez should have never been hired at Albuquerque Public Schools; he has no business being around children. APS dropped the ball, and it’s completely unacceptable,” Martinez said. “I am ordering this immediate review because our parents need to know that our districts are following the law, are conducting background checks, and providing a safe environment at all times for our children. This review should help districts craft stronger policies and immediately identify any lapses or gaps in background check compliance by school districts throughout the state.”
DPS and PED staff will work directly with each school district and charter school to conduct an immediate review of personnel policies relating to criminal background checks to ensure compliance with state law and provide guidance on how these policies should be strengthened and improved. The concurrent compliance effort will also identify whether any school districts have failed to conduct criminal background checks on personnel, and the districts will be directed into immediate compliance.
“Parents need to know our schools are following the law when it comes to keeping child predators out of contact with our kids,” DPS Secretary Greg Fouratt said. “A recent failure to follow policy has prompted this immediate and necessary review.”
The Departments will provide a joint report and analysis on their findings once the district policy analysis and compliance review effort are complete.
Jason Martinez resigned late last week once the charges against him were revealed.
State Attorney General Hector Balderas has also launched an investigation into the hiring of Mr. Martinez, saying he is “concerned” that the man Superintendent Valentino chose as deputy superintendent–Jason Martinez–had not completed a criminal background check when he was hired.
Attorney General Hector Balderas