Arrested MISD Substitute Teacher Brings Screening Process to Light 10/19/13
CBS 7 News
October 18, 2013
Midland - We are continuing to follow a scandal that has rocked a local school district.
Sixty-two-year-old Juan Leovardo Melendez, a Midland ISD substitute teacher, has been charged with indecency with a child.
He was arrested and has been accused of inappropriately touching students in his care.
Melendez remains behind bars on a $500,000 bond.
Yesterday's incident has parents concerned about what goes into hiring a substitute teacher.
CBS 7 got a look at what administrators are doing to prevent this from happening again.
MISDís number one priority is student safety.
That's why the system MISD has in place is extensive; they aim to leave no stone unturned.
It all starts with a fingerprint.
"That goes through DPS and FBI," Irene Garcia, Director of Support Staff Services at MISD said.
That's just one of many steps that goes into getting cleared to be a substitute teacher.
Besides an application and training, every employee gets their fingerprint taken. It's so extensive that if anyone gets into trouble with the law, the school district is alerted immediately.
"We think this is a very rigorous screening and training they must go through and that's not going to change. If anything, we'll always look for ways to improve that," Ed Zachary, Executive Director of Human Resources at MISD said.
Thatís why when news came to light yesterday of a substitute teacher at Sam Houston Elementary getting arrested, MISDís HR Department went into action working to prevent this from happening again.
"There is always a vigorous analysis of what happened, why it happened and how that can be avoided in the future," Zachary said. "Of course you're always very disappointed when someone uses poor judgment and makes poor decisions relative to our young people."
Zachary says poor decisions are one thing their system cannot catch.
"We want the very best sub in front of our kids. It's very disappointing when it doesn't work out that way," he said.
Not only are all employees screened at the time of hiring, once a substitute is in a classroom, they are monitored by the principal and substitute principal of that campus.
Any person that enters a school must check in at the front office and have their driverís license ran through a system that detects sex offenders.
Zachary says they have an open door policy. He says they're willing to show their screening process to anyone interested.