Bus Driver Had “Fantastic Background Check”
September 22, 2009
For the past couple years, I’ve posted stories about insufficient school background checks around the time that my kids go back to school. I resisted the urge this year, because quite frankly, I’m getting a little sick of listening to myself rant on the subject.
I found this letter from First Student Bus Company that CBS2 in Chicago published on Sunday where the company appears to be defending their current background screening procedures. They refer to incidents such as being terminated by the Columbus Public School systems for failing to conduct proper background checks on their drivers as a thing of the past. They say (about their screening program) that, “First Student’s pre-employment background checks are widely known as the most extensive in the industry and exceed state requirements. The company requires each prospective driver to pass federal, state and local checks, which include criminal (10 years), work (10 years) and driving (7 years) histories. Regular rechecks are conducted throughout an employee’s tenure with the company.”
I actually was tempted to post a something on our blog about their efforts to improve their background screening program and protect our students. However, something told me that this had to be a reason for this letter. Something else had to have happened. I also am accustomed to hearing about these extensive screening programs, that upon further review, aren’t really extensive at all. Sorry, it’s my job to be a skeptic, especially when it comes to background checks for those entrusted with our children.
Well, I’m glad I didn’t write that post. Today, I found a story in the our local paper which details how a First Student Bus Company driver was pulled over with 41 kids on board for reckless driving. The driver was later charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
This hits really close to home. Why? This practically happened in my back yard and by they way, First Student is the company that buses my kids to school.
This time a First Student spokesman said that “this driver went through FANTASTIC background checks”. “Fantastic Background Checks”? Very interesting. Now, I’m going to reserve judgment until I know more, but I would like to find out what a “fantastic background check” consists of. I know what we consider to be a comprehensive background check and I know what the schools have been passing off as a “comprehensive background check”. I hope we find that the school’s definition and the bus company’s are not the same.
I guess I’m going to start ranting again.