DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Stan Jester, a newly-elected DeKalb County School Board member, says he will only submit to a fingerprint and background check done by the DeKalb County Police Department, not the school district.
“It is a conflict of interest to be investigated by the agency I was elected to oversee. It should be done by a third party. That is what I have done,” Jester said to Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman in an email.
Dr. Melvin Johnson, the DeKalb County School Board chairman, says he was taken aback, when he says Stan Jester told him he would not submit to a fingerprint and background check by the district. Jester is scheduled to be sworn in Monday.
Johnson says all employees, even volunteers, are required to undergo the fingerprinting background checks. Johnson says every board member also goes through the background check.
“I’m optimistic Mr. Jester will look at the entire situation, our image and that safety is the upmost importance to all of us,” Johnson said.
Through an open records request, Channel 2 Action News obtained an email in which Jester told Johnson he was not an employee and therefore not subject to employee requirements.
Jester emailed this statement to Channel 2 Action News:
“I do not object to a thorough background check or being fingerprinted. In fact, last week I sent the Chair a copy of my background check completed by the Dunwoody Police Department. Additionally, I have already made arrangements to have my fingerprints taken by the DeKalb County Police Department tomorrow morning to address anyone's concerns. I will be putting my reports online and they will be made available for anyone to see. I challenge the rest of the board members and administration to do the same. I do reject the manner and rationale of the board Chair in dealing with this issue. It has ranged from inaccurate to intimidating. Our children deserve better. Rather than try to bully or embarrass other board members, I will take great care to do what is in the best interests of children and taxpayers.”
It is standard for employees to get a fingerprint check done by DeKalb County Schools, not by DeKalb County police.