New Resources for Equal Opportunity Hiring: Impact Fund’s Advocacy Guide for School Districts After the Killian Settlement

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In 2019, Bay Area Legal Aid, the Impact Fund, and the Safe Return Project reached a settlement in Killian v. West Contra Costa Unified School District. The settlement led to changes in the way the school district asked questions about applicants’ contacts with the criminal justice system, removing the use of background checks as a “gatekeeping” screening question and placing them in the context of overall applicant qualifications. For further detail, please see BayLegal’s blog post on the case and settlement.

Stemming from the settlement, education employment site has updated its template sitewide. For the first time, all districts are now able to remove questions about prior convictions from their initial application forms. The Impact Fund has published a compelling advocacy page presenting the multiple reasons why taking this step is the right move for districts seeking to hire new employees, along with sample policies and notices. In the interest of identifying and retaining qualified candidates, promoting racial and economic justice, shielding districts from potential legal liability, and promoting community safety, rethinking employment background checks and providing employment opportunities to people with prior convictions makes sense.