JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- From cooks to crossing guards to teachers, Duval County Public Schools is considering allowing felons to be considered for open jobs.
"We're talking about children here. We're talking about innocent children who cannot speak for themselves," said Eileen Chatman.
With 10 grandkids, Chatman said she has enough to worry about. Convicted felons in their classrooms shouldn't be one of them.
"Why put them around children? That's like telling me to go into the lion's den and seeing if the lion won't bite," Chatman said.
Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti wants to change school guidelines to allow people with felonies that are more than 10 years old to be considered for any open positions.
"It doesn't guarantee the person the job. It just makes that person eligible to be hired," Vitti said. "It's about discretion." Vitti said the 10-year window is enough time to be sure the felon is rehabilitated.
"A 10-year period also allows for clarity in that that individual who committed that felony hasn't recommitted or committed another felony," Vitti said.
Chatman doesn't agree with that logic at all. "Who uses a measuring rod to say whether someone delivered in 10 years or 12 years or 20 years? We don't know that. So because we don't know that, why jeopardize the children who are innocent?" questioned Chatman.
Action News did some checking with surrounding counties and St. Johns County's policy does allow for some felons to be considered after 10 years, depending on the crime. Vitti said because Duval's policy is more stringent, the district is missing out on qualified candidates who are getting jobs in St. Johns County.