SOE Background Check Procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to define the WCU School of Education’s procedure for background checks. The purpose of a background check is to ensure applicants have not engaged in any behavior deemed unsafe for working with children. Students enrolled in a teacher education program are required to submit to a criminal background check. The School of Education requires background checks as a condition of admission because: 1) students have significant interaction with minors and vulnerable populations and 2) students who cannot successfully complete a background check may not, in some instances, be eligible for licensure or employment upon graduation.


  • Beginning fall 2020, all students at William Carey University who apply for admission to teacher education must undergo a background check through CastleBranch. WCU is unable to accept background checks completed by other providers, except as indicated below pertaining to Teacher Assistants.  Students who apply for admission and have passed the background check process are eligible for admission to teacher education, pending other admission requirements.  Students who pass the background check process will be issued a background check card by WCU and must be able to produce the card when visiting K-12 schools.
  • Teacher candidates who received background checks prior to fall 2020 and are currently enrolled in the teacher education program, are not required to apply for a new background check. Students applying for re-admission must submit to a new background check. 
  • Faculty Advisors will initiate the background check procedure during the advisement session prior to enrolling in EDU 300/300.1, EDU 372 or EDR 344 in order to receive background check results before beginning observations and field experience.
  • Applicants are responsible for the fees required to complete the background check
  • Students that fail to meet the deadline will be forced to drop classes that require a background check.
  • Some students may have completed the background check process as a part of their employment, such as students employed as teacher assistants.  TA’s can have the school district scan or mail the background check to (Tina Bond WCU Box 3, Hattiesburg, MS 39401) OR the TA can deliver the background check in a sealed envelope to Tina Bond. 
    • Teacher assistants that cannot show proof of a background check by the district they are employed with must submit to the WCU CastleBranch background check.

Flagged Background Checks

A background check review is a process used when a discrepancy appears on the background check of a School of Education student that may be cause for concern for the safety or security of vulnerable individuals.  This Criminal Background Check procedure is consistent with state law Sections 1 (2) - Section 2, of SECTION 37-9-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended by Senate Bill 2658. Refusal to provide consent for a criminal background investigation will result in denial of admission. Further, failure of any portion of a background check may be the basis for barring the student from admission to a teacher education program depending on the findings.

  1. Denial of admissions may result from other convictions showing a pattern of poor judgment or unprofessional behavior. Behaviors evidencing incompetence or neglect of duty may not specifically be described as criminal, however; they may cause an applicant to be denied admission into the program.
  1. If a candidate does not pass the criminal background check – a copy of the results will be sent to the applicant along with a copy of consumer rights.
  2. If a candidate believes their criminal background check is incorrect, he/she can request another background check be submitted to WCU for review.
  3. Identified discrepancies which may result in a Review being initiated:
  • Any Felony
  • Any Abuse Incident
  • Drug/Alcohol Incident
  • Harm to children
  • Crimes of violence
  • Plea bargains
  • Patterns of behavior
  • Other
  1. When a discrepancy appears on a background check the following procedures will be followed by WCU: 
  • Contact student involved and schedule a meeting regarding the discrepancy with the "Dean and or Chair of SOE
  • Review the circumstances of the discrepancy.
  • The SOE chair and/or Dean will determine if notification of the discrepancy to the field experience site personnel is needed. If needed:
    • Obtain a "Release of Information" from the student.
    • Notify field experience site personnel of discrepancy.
    • As needed, meet with field experience site personnel to review discrepancy and background check report. The final determination on placement is determined by the Dean/Chair or designee of the field experience site. Upon acceptance of the student, documentation on the discrepancy will be provided to the field experience site personnel.
    • Inform student in writing of review outcome.

Additional Background Check

In addition to admission, William Carey University reserves the right to request an additional background check at any point in a student's program of enrollment in professional education. If the student has had an arrest or conviction after their first background check at admission to the program, they could be dismissed.

 Procedure and Billing

In addition to meeting the academic requirements necessary for admission to a teacher education program and pre-service licensure, students must also pass a criminal background check.  William Carey University has selected CastleBranch as the vendor authorized to provide this service. The cost is $49.00 (credit or debit card required) and usually takes 3-5 business days to return results.  A background check is completed just prior to admission to a teacher education program; however, in some cases, a background check must be completed prior to taking certain pre-teacher education courses, which require observation of and/or interaction with minors. Therefore, the appropriate course instructor or faculty advisor, will tell you when to complete this step.  When instructed to do so, complete the following steps to create a CastleBranch account and submit your order:     

Student Directions

  1. Enter the following URL in your Internet browser
  2. Click on Package Selection on the top toolbar.
  3. Select Hattiesburg or Tradition campus and follow the steps to place your order.
  4. Once the background check has been cleared, the SOE will mail your background check        clearance card to you.                
  5. All students must sign and have on file the “DISCLOSURE REGARDING BACKGROUND

      INVESTIGATION”  form. Click here for the form.  Return to academic advisor. 

Please keep the background check clearance card with your WCU student ID.

Courses that Require Background Checks

EDU 300/300.1                        EDU 372                                  EDR 344

EDR 308                                  EDR 311                                  EDU 345

EDU 346                                  EDR 407                                  EDU 413

EDU 409                                  EDR 441                                  EDR 474

ECE 430                                  EDU 478                                  EDU 483

EDU 484                                  EDU 496

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