DETROIT – Are you considering hiring a tutor to come to your home and teach your children this fall as many school buildings remain closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
“You are going to have them probably alone with your kids for several hours,” former FBI agent Ned Timmons said. “We’ve got to see who these people are.”
With many Michigan schools announcing virtual learning in the fall, some families with financial resources are considering hiring tutors to help their children.
But before bringing a stranger into your home, Timmons said it’s important to look into that person’s background.
Some parents in Metro Detroit have created pods with teachers hired to help a group of children at someone’s home. Others will hire tutors for specific subjects.
“You are going to have people in your house that have access to your home,” Timmons said. “They have access to your valuables. They are around your kids.
“You need to have a complete background on them. You need to verify that they are using the correct social security number. You need to check them on the sex offender list and a valid criminal history check in every state they have been in.”
Some Houston-area parents learned this lesson the hard way. They hired a longtime private tutor and former teacher who was out on bond after allegedly soliciting a student for sex. Officials said she was arrested for sexually assaulting a different teenager.
“I think we are all shocked at what happens in the world,” neighbor Fred Rettenmaier said. “We don’t expect it, but it’s there.”
Timmons runs LCC Consulting and is hired frequently to run background checks. His advice is to do a comprehensive, nationwide background check.
“You have got to use the social security number,” Timmons said. “See where that shows up and do that specific state. Some states give you statewide and some only give you a city or an area.”
He said it’s important to always check on children when the tutor is in your home and check the home after the tutor leaves.
“We have had people come in -- plumbers, electricians -- and leave a window or a door open so they can come back at night or leave it open so you don’t find it, and all of a sudden, your house is broken into,” Timmons said.
Timmons said he doesn’t want to scare parents, but he wants them to be prepared and informed so they can make sure their children’s learning experience is safe.
A nationwide background check like the ones Timmons referenced can cost between $100-$150 and take two or three days to complete. If you run a background for employment, you must have a signed release.