DeKalb Schools: Applicants to face more scrutiny in selection process

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DeKalb Schools: Applicants to face more scrutiny in selection process

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Bob Andres/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
DeKalb County School District teachers and staff, seen during a pep rally ahead of the new school year, likely faced little scrutiny as they were hired to work in the district, officials admitted recently. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

The case of a teacher hired this summer at Chamblee Middle School has forced DeKalb County School District officials to rethink their hiring process, including how they check the backgrounds of potential candidates.

Sandra Meeks-Speller was fired by Toledo Public Schools in 2012 after officials there said she physically assaulted students, including putting one in a headlock, and pushing another into a wall. She never lost her teaching license in Ohio.

Because she was still licensed, her infractions slid under the radar when DeKalb officials were considering her for a position this summer. 

Superintendent Steve Green said protocols for checking backgrounds of candidates would be improved immediately, including making contact with three required references and verifying employment history written on an application or found on a resume.

In other education news:

Elevated lead levels were previously discovered in several schools across the county.
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