School board election winner Oshin Castillo was sworn in as a board of education member earlier in the month without undergoing the requisite criminal background check, according to officials.
New Jersey law requires a newly-elected board member to complete a criminal background check within 30 days of election. Castillo won a seat on November 3rd, 2015. It’s been almost three months since she captured the seat with 2,695 votes.
Castillo on Wednesday morning answered when contacted for comment, but said she could not speak while at her place of employment. She said she would reach back out in a few minutes – no response came.
Michael Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education, last Wednesday said Castillo’s criminal background check is still in the approval process. The department’s Criminal History Review Unit conducts background checks on newly elected board members.
A newly elected board member is required to pay a fee and submit to a fingerprinting procedure.
“They were so busy checking me they didn’t even check her,” remarked Kevin Michael Henry, who was disqualified after a criminal background check turned up convictions from 1991, on Wednesday morning.
Henry thought it was unfair that she was allowed on the board without a completed criminal background check. He said the same standard should have been applied to everyone.
The state clarified the background check process in 2014, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association. A newly elected board member may be sworn into office pending the results of a criminal background check, according to the association.
“It’s racism. They watch the black guy. They didn’t even care for her,” said Henry. Henry finished third in the November school board elections with 2,687 votes. Nakima Redmon was first with 2,927 votes.
After Henry was disqualified the Passaic County superintendent of schools Robert Davis appointed longtime school board member Errol Kerr to the vacant seat. Kerr came in 4th place in the election.
The other new board member Redmon was cleared through the criminal history review unit to serve on the board in mid-December, said Yaple.
School board president Christopher Irving said Castillo is going for finger printing on Friday. He said she had previously scheduled, but a family emergency resulted in a postponement. After that the biometric center double booked her further delaying the process, he said.
“She’s getting it done,” said Irving.