As of 2019, new laws (see below) were made in the state of Maryland concerning employees working with children. As quoted by NBC4, “The bill sponsored by Del. C.T. Wilson, D-Charles County, requires school districts contact prior employers listed by job applicants before hiring those applicants.”
These new laws include a requirement for having a form signed from all previous employers, new training practices, as well as the training anyone who wants to work with children already have to go through.
This law has affected Oakdale directly with the leave of Ms. Dorian Dixon, the Forensic Science and one of the Biology teachers, due to her pregnancy. The school system has been searching for a long-term substitute that is qualified to teach her classes. However, due to one reason or another, the rare candidates that are willing to go through with the added requirements have found other positions, more readily available.
Lack of substitute teachers is an issue seen in other departments, as well, but the Science department seems to have the most problems. Jen Morgenthaler, Biology teacher, hypothesizes it’s because more people are intimidated by teaching science: “If you’re a long term sub, you’re expected to organize labs and all that,” she rationalizes.
Whether this is the reason or not, the few subs willing to take the position with the proper requirements fitting in with Maryland’s new policy were offered more convenient jobs which they took.
This new policy hasn’t only affected substitute teachers. It’s also become a problem in finding coaches for high school sports. Coach Krivos, Athletic Director at Oakdale, explains how even for parent volunteers, there is training, fingerprints, and classes needed in order to become a coach for a high school sport, all of which cost money.
In addition to this, they have to notify all of their previous employers to ensure they’re alright to work with minors. “Why would they bother? It’s so much added effort just to be a volunteer, so most parents don’t even think it’s worth it anymore,” Krivos put in.
In the face of all of the problems caused by the new Maryland policy, this new addition isn’t all bad; it may make the process more difficult, but it still protects the safety of students. Local Senators are also currently making efforts to revise the Bill in order to avoid potential problems caused by it.
PDF of Bill