As Custodian Faces Charges, SF School District Talks Hiring Process

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A Sioux Falls school custodian at Career and Technical Education Academy is charged with possession of a firearm in a school and filing a false report. Following this incident, many people are also asking what the hiring process looks like for the Sioux Falls School District. 

25-year-old Joseph Croal’s record has mostly minor charges, but he did plead guilty in 2013 to disorderly conduct and in 2011 to simple assault. He’s also had multiple simple assault charges dismissed by the prosecutor. 

On Monday KELOLAND News sat down with Becky Dorman, senior director of human resources with the Sioux Falls School District, to see how they evaluate a prospective employee. Dorman says the Sioux Falls School District examines education, work history, references, and an in-person interview when hiring someone.

“Once we’ve made an offer of employment to someone, it’s considered a tentative offer or a temporary offer of employment because our next step is to do a criminal background check,” Dorman said.

Both state and federal criminal background checks happen. Dorman says according to state law, districts are able to take into account “any criminal conviction.” The district could possibly hire someone with a felony or a misdemeanor on their record. But that comes with a qualifier. 

“Under state law that is possible, but those things are items that we scrutinize very heavily,” Dorman said.

School Board Vice President Cynthia Mickelson says this case will prompt a review.

“We will be re-looking at how we maybe do certain things, but until all the evidence is gathered, we can’t really speak about what things will be changed and so forth, plus, we don’t like to reveal everything we do,” Mickelson said. 

“Being a parent myself, it all comes down to student safety, to staff safety, and I can tell you that that is one thing that we are extremely careful about when we’re looking at background checks and making sure we know everything possible that we can know about an individual before they come to work for us,” Dorman said.

“Parents and other community members should be, feel secure that we are doing the best that we can with the knowledge that we have and what’s available in security for our schools,” Mickelson said.

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