Iowa schools can’t disclose volunteers’ criminal histories

Iowa district officials say they’re not allowed to inform parents about the criminal records of felons volunteering in schools under state law.

The Des Moines Register found through open records requests that convicted felons are volunteering in at least three of the state’s largest school districts in Des Moines, Dubuque and Davenport.

A criminal conviction doesn’t automatically disqualify someone from volunteering in Iowa’s K-12 schools. But school officials say Iowa Code bars districts from disclosing volunteers’ criminal histories.

Many Iowa districts screen school volunteers despite state law not requiring background checks.

Des Moines officials review the details of the conviction before making a decision. The Mid-Prairie school district consults the state Board of Educational Examiners’ list of crimes that disqualify someone from becoming a teacher.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,