UTC School of Professional Studies

Criminal History Background Check Policy

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-5-5610

Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 49-5-5610 requires all students who wish to be admitted to teacher training programs to:

  • Agree to the release of all investigative records to the administrator of the selected teacher training program;
  • Supply a fingerprint sample and submit to a criminal history records check to be conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; and
  • Sign an authorization and release form provided by the department or board authorizing a qualified Tennessee licensed private investigation company by and on behalf of the board to complete a criminal history records check.

Title 28, U.S.C., § 534, Pub. L. 92-544 and Title 28, CFR, 20.33(b), provide that the exchange of records and information is subject to CANCELLATION if dissemination is made outside the receiving departments or related agencies. Furthermore, depending upon the nature of the offense and the identity of the offender, federal or state crimes may be charged for the willful, unauthorized disclosure of criminal history background check information.

UTC School of Professional Studies

In the UTC School of Professional Studies, select degree programs require field components (observations, practicums, internship, etc.) and professional fitness standards. In order to comply with TCA 49-5-5610, the following criminal history background check policy is implemented to secure the safety and well-being of all students, faculty, and clients. 

  1. All Social Work (M.S.W.) graduate students must satisfactorily complete the background check requirement prior to enrolling in the first semester of coursework and all Social Work (B.S.W) undergraduate students must satisfactorily complete the background check requirement prior to field placement.
  2. Background checks are considered valid for four (4) years, as long as the student remains continuously enrolled.
  3. Students are required to provide full disclosure to the Program/Field Director within 5 days any arrest, misdemeanor, or felony conviction. Failure to provide full disclosure within 5 days is grounds for program dismissal.
  4. Criminal background checks from outside agencies will not be accepted. The background check process must be conducted through the designated TBI vendor, currently IdentoGo MorphoTrust USA.
  5. Payment of any fees associated with the fingerprinting and background check is the responsibility of the student. Field agencies may require additional background checks prior to field placement. Payment of any fees associated with additional background checks is also the responsibility of the student.
  6. All information revealed in the background check process will be kept confidential within the UTC School of Professional Studies. Should student confidentially be compromised, intentionally or unintentionally, any misuse of information will result in immediate investigation and disciplinary action as appropriate.
  7. Criminal history background reports cannot be released to any unauthorized person, organization, corporation, business, or entity. The School of Professional Studies is the legal requestor and rightful owner of the background history check information. Background history information will not be released to the student unless the student is challenging the criminal background information. If the student believes there is erroneous information on their criminal history that may have prevented him/her from being admitted to the program and/or placed in the field, the student is entitled to receive a copy of the criminal history. In such instances, the student may submit a written request to the Program/Field Director to review the criminal history information. The student may obtain a prompt determination as to the validity of the challenge before the department/Program/Field Director makes a final decision about the student’s status in the program.
  8. Criminal history background check reports should not be printed. All criminal history background check records will be deleted by the department 12 months after the student has graduated from the program or is withdrawn/dismissed from the program.

Evaluation of Criminal History Background

A student in the UTC School of Professional Studies may be dismissed from the degree program if the student’s criminal history make the student unfit for professional practice, if the student’s criminal history demonstrates behavior deemed to be unprofessional, or that puts clients, other students, faculty, or agencies at risk. This determination will be made at the discretion of the Program/Field Director.  

The Program/Field Director will use the following guidelines to evaluate a student’s criminal history:

  • Severity or nature of the criminal behaviors. Minor traffic violations such as moving violations or traffic infractions that do not involve alcohol or controlled substances are irrelevant in considering a student’s criminal behaviors.
  • Number and pattern of criminal behaviors.
  • Circumstances surrounding the criminal behaviors that would help determine risk.
  • Relationship of the criminal behaviors to the care of children or vulnerable adults.
  • Activities since the criminal behaviors that may be evidence of rehabilitation.
  • Individual’s age at the time of the criminal behavior.
  • Time elapsed since the criminal behaviors.
  • Probation or parole status.

In compliance with the State Board of Education licensure standards for teachers and administrators (Tennessee Board of Education Rule 0520-2-4-.01 (9), a student will be dismissed from the degree program if s/he has been convicted of any of the following criminal offenses:

  • Murder in the first or second degree
  • Especially aggravated kidnapping
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Especially aggravated robbery
  • Aggravated rape or rape
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Rape of a child
  • Aggravated child abuse
  • Aggravated rape of a child
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor involving more than one hundred (100) images
  • Aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor involving more than twenty-five (25) images
  • Especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Manufacture or delivery or sale of a controlled substance
  • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell the controlled substance