Employees at Pennsylvania schools are required this month to report criminal histories.

The criminal history forms are one mandate of the Pennsylvania School Code, which was amended in September.

By Dec. 27, all public, private, intermediate unit and vo-tech school employees are to complete a form reporting whether they have been arrested or convicted of any offense, including the 26 crimes that disqualify employment under the School Code.

That list of crimes and consequences for those convicted were also amended in September by Sen. Jeffery Piccola, R-Dauphin, to include institutional sexual assault and a permanent employment ban for convicts rather than the law's previous five-year ban.

The amendments, under Act 24, prevent school districts from hiring convicts but also require assurance from current employees who may not have been subject to bona fide background checks that they have not been convicted or arrested.

Since 2007, both state and federal checks were required for all prospective school employees, but those who have been hired prior to that mandate have remained exempt.

And regardless of whether a longtime employee has committed a crime during a time when it would have required a five-year ban under previous law, if an offense warrants a lifetime ban under Act 24, then the school district will need to take appropriate action.