Fairfax Co. Schools Accidentally Hired 7 Felons

Fairfax County Public Schools is making changes following the hiring of seven convicted felons as teachers.

Last year, Deilia Butler, a special education teacher at James Madison High School, was placed on administrative leave after it was discovered that she was hired in 2006 despite disclosing a felony conviction that took place over 20 years ago. 

School districts are prohibited from employing felons in Virginia.

Butler was convicted on drug trafficking charges in 1992 and served 42 months in prison, The Washington Post reports.

According to petition filed by Fairfax County Public Schools, the school system's human resources department thought Butler was eligible for employment and hired her. They realized their mistake when she asked whether she'd still be up for a promotion despite her past conviction.

During a subsequent comprehensive search of hiring records, the school system discovered six other employees who also had felony convictions. All of the employees, including Butler, were either placed on paid administrative leave or left their jobs to comply with the school system's policy of not hiring felons. 

The crimes committed by the other employees were not disclosed, but none committed crimes against children, The Post said.

"We have resources in place so it can't happen again, and the reason it's taken that long to come to light is because it had to go through the legal process," said Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza.

In 2009, Fairfax County schools switched to an online system that automatically disqualifies potential hires who disclose felonies during the application process.

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