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December 2, 2008

Privacy lawsuit brought against sex offender background checks in schools

This summer I blogged here about a notable new technology that some school systems have started using to try to prevent sex offenders from getting into schools.  Now I see from this local Texas story, headlined "School safety check draws lawsuit: Couple objects to device that spots sex offenders by scanning licenses," that this new form of techno-security is now the subject of a lawsuit.  Here are the specifics:

A background check system used by many Texas schools to spot visitors who are sex offenders is being challenged by two parents who say the process violates their privacy and other rights. Yvonne and Larry Meadows are suing the Lake Travis school district over a computer system that checks visitors against a sex offender database by scanning their driver's license. Visitors who don't consent can be turned away.

The federal lawsuit filed in November is believed to be among the first legal challenges to the policy in Texas. Houston-based Raptor Systems, which performs background checks for Lake Travis and 5,000 other schools nationwide, said it was unaware of similar lawsuits.

The Meadowses say the computerized checks violate their constitutional rights, including freedom to associate with their children at school and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Neither are listed in the national sex offender database.

Yvonne Meadows said she objected to Bee Cave Elementary School scanning her license because she was concerned about identify theft and a private company collecting her personal information. "Raptor sold (their system) on this 'registered sex offenders, we need to be on guard' idea, but it was primarily a visitor management system," she told the Austin American-Statesman in its Monday editions. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Lisa McBride, the lawyer for the Lake Travis school district, said the district thinks its system is reasonable and fully complies with state and federal law.

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December 2, 2008 at 07:53 AM | Permalink


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I agree that such laws are constitutional but the lawyer for the school district and I have very different ideas about what is reasonable. I think it's bad public policy.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 2, 2008 10:39:06 AM

The comments to this version of the story are more likely as expected.

Posted by: George | Dec 2, 2008 11:04:34 AM

I recently had an occasion to be at an elementary school (not in Texas) that uses this system. I was there during the school day for a Veterans' Day assembly. I was providing instrumental music with four other musicians. I was the last to arrive and was taken directly to the room where we were to warm up. When I got there, I realized the other four musicians had been "screened" as they had sticker badges with their names and photos on them on their lapels. But somehow I was missed? Perhaps because the others are male and I am female? All I can say is, that a high-tech system is only as good as those in charge of using it. If those using it pick and choose who to screen based on perceived risk, it is not much good at all.

Posted by: slim | Dec 2, 2008 12:46:29 PM

Background checks are so cheap because of the Internet. No employer should ever have an excuse not to conduct one on new employees.

Posted by: free background check | Aug 4, 2009 7:31:53 PM

background checking was widely offered now on internet but still there are limited credible sites which offers the best service.

Posted by: court records | May 10, 2010 11:46:02 AM

Students really should be protected well.

Posted by: Loan for settlement | Aug 30, 2010 2:42:22 AM

The databases have become alot more accurate. Online background checks websites make it easier than ever. Use a trusted Background Checks database and you can find criminal records data relating to anyone including arrest records, court records and criminal records. Also checking up-to-date sex offenders lists obviously being the most important.

Posted by: Background Checks | Oct 15, 2010 6:19:18 PM

Having a credible company to perform background check is way to difficult if you will just search on the internet. You should have a reliable source which can perform that service accurately.

Posted by: affordable health insurance | Dec 1, 2010 2:36:59 PM

Yes that is true having a reliable source is sometimes needed but somehow you should sometimes do it by yourself. Sometimes it is on the way you think, if you will just deal with those company who offer you cheaper service maybe they are just making money.

Posted by: records search | Dec 7, 2010 11:29:30 AM

Just want to give you all an advice, There is no Online site which provide free background check. A credible site which provide this kind of service will sure charge you a small amount to be used to pay for the public records and resources.

Posted by: criminal records | Oct 7, 2011 9:23:39 PM

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