South Carolina education officials want the state to require criminal background checks of substitute teachers in an effort to prevent child abuse.
The State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to ask legislators to change the law. Such screening now is required of full-time teachers but not of substitutes.
State schools chief Jim Rex says informal surveys show most school districts already do the checks on substitutes. But he says making them mandatory would emphasize student safety.
By year's end, nearly 20,000 teachers and other school employees will complete training on child abuse prevention. The Darkness to Light program trains teachers to identify and prevent child sexual abuse whether by teachers, a child's family members or others.