If the strange saga of Andres Rodriguez, until Dec. 17 employed as a middle school teacher at George Washington Middle School in Lyons, teaches anything, it’s that the hiring and reference checking procedures in the school district are seriously inadequate.
Rodriguez was hired late in the summer, just before classes started. He apparently had done some selective editing of his background on his application and the references he gave apparently didn’t think to mention that he’d been forced out at Joliet District 86 after being accused of attempted murder.
Apparently, the school district allows references to be checked but does not require directly calling a former employers’ human resources department. That ought to be an easy fix, a way around friendly references who might be inclined to keep troubling details under wraps.
Whatever the solution, they need to be mandated for all hires, no matter how under the gun districts may be to hire someone, anyone to occupy a classroom. Perhaps the Illinois State Board of Education or regional education agencies should mandate reasonable teacher hiring processes.