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Bus Driver's Background Checks Lead to School Closures

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posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 08:29 AM
Over 56,000 students are out of school in Columbus due to the new information that a contractor failed to have background checks done on their drivers. The contractor, First Student Inc., has not submitted any information on it's drivers since August of 2004. Suspicions began to arise when one of their drivers was arrested on coc aine possession, and then later realized he had three previous DUI's in the 1980's.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Columbus schools canceled classes for their 56,000 students Thursday after a contractor responsible for some school bus routes discovered it had not done complete criminal background checks on drivers. First Student Inc. had not submitted any of its bus drivers' information to the state for checks since August 2004, said Jennifer Brindisi, spokeswoman for Attorney General Marc Dann.

First Student's decision to ground its Columbus fleet came two days after Columbus police arrested one of the company's drivers on a charge of coc aine possession. The driver also had three convictions in the 1980s for driving under the influence. Company officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment on why it failed to conduct complete checks for more than two years, but said in a statement that it is assessing its operations statewide to ensure it is following proper procedures.

The district canceled classes because it was unable to find a way to fill the gaps left in bus service, Superintendent Gene Harris said. "We worked through the night trying to devise a plan to get schools open," Harris said. "I pressed my staff very hard to examine all options before we made this decision."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

It is a scary thought that this contractor allowed individuals to drive innocent children to and from school, without looking into their background with much effort. It is quite possible that they could of hired sexual predators, abusers, molesters, etc., to govern the safety of children as they progress to school. This contractor should face some sort of punishment, and lose their right to the contract. Something like this can not be overlooked, and our backgrounds are something that are open to public knowledge when applying for a position.

If I attempt to volunteer as a coach in any organize sport, I need to submit a criminal record check, child abuse registry, or anything else that is required to meet their satisfaction. It is not intrusive, and it is not a violation of my rights. These come with a personal cost for a volunteer position. Asking individuals who are applying for employment to provide information pertaining to their background, well that is the least they can do. Especially when they are so directly involved with our youth.

The victims in all of this are the students. Their security was tampered with, and they are out of school. The latter may come as a reward, but their education is important. When a population of this magnitude is forced from school, so many problems are created. Homes where both parents are employed, they are forced to find alternative care. If they go back to school, children who relied on the bus service may be left finding an alternative way to school. A lot of problems have come from the laziness and ignorance of one company.

[edit on 28-1-2007 by UM_Gazz]

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 09:02 AM
its a sick world where you even have to do checks, i think you should question more that you live in a scoiety where you need to run checks.

of course nowadays these things are right and should be done, but everything has breeches, and people always find ways to get short cuts.


posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 10:37 AM

The victims in all of this are the students.

This is a minor bureaucratic failure that needs to be corrected, we have no victims here. No evidence has been presented that even one child has been harmed as a result over the 3 years in which the security checks were not performed. These school officials completely overreacted by shutting down the schools and depriving thousands of kids their education. As for CNN, it must've been a really really slow news day..

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 12:03 PM
No victims?

Just because there is no "direct" proof of harm. What of all the possible alternatives parents may face, not to mention the last minute shuffling to have care for their children while they are off to work. 56,000 students are without a drive to school. I hardly see how a company could step in and take the contract overnight. Some work needs to be done to resolve this issue that could of been eradicated if one company had decided against cutting corners.

The victims are the students, the parents, the education system. The whole system is a victim of the pure ignorance of one company's actions.

If your child was driving on a bus who's driver had three different DUI's, would you feel safe? Would you feel violated? Would you feel comfortable in allowing your child to get on the next bus? No, you wouldn't. The child would of suffered no direct harm, but your family would be set back indirectly.

Think if it were your own children. It's a different story if you can place yourself in their shoes. Yeah it seems like a waste of a story on the outside. Nobody hurt, nobody killed, wow.. really lacks the "headliner" that we all look for. Blood, death, murder, suffering, come on where is the juicy stuff. Then again, these aren't your children. Tough to presume nobody is a victim in all of this when your on the outside looking in.


posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 01:28 PM
This is certainly an important local news story. A contractor failed to comply with it's contract, the school administration failed to monitor contract compliance, the elected school board failed to have adequate checks on the administrative bureaucracy and thousands of parents failed to keep a watchful eye on their elected officials.

Your right if it is my kids, it is important. And we have local stations that can provide all of the coverage that this deserves to the people in this community that care about it most.

However national coverage of this story is nothing but subtle fear mongering using children.

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 01:47 PM
One has to look no further than Otto Mann for society's expectation in a public school bus driver. If the irony doesn't escape Matt Groening; why should reality escape us?

We don't even bother to put seat belts in school buses.

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 02:57 PM

Originally posted by Mirthful Me
We don't even bother to put seat belts in school buses.

Why is that? This is an issue that has always plagued me. In an age of safety chairs, booster seats, etc., we fail to install seat belts into buses.

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 03:23 PM
How do we know this is an isolated incident?

As far as the lack of seatbelts on school buses, this site lists some of the pros and cons, as well as some of the proponents and opponents of seat belts on school buses.

Both sides of the debate agree that school bus transportation is one of the safest forms of travel in the U.S. -- far safer than riding in a car. Since 1984, an average of 11 passengers a year have died in school bus crashes, according to the NHSTA. The group is currently researching ways to make school buses even safer. They are accepting ideas through the end of the year.


posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 03:58 PM

How do we know this is an isolated incident?

How do we know all teachers have diploma's from accredited colleges?
How do we know that in 10 years the new insulation put in schools isn't more dangerous than the asbestos?
How do we know the required school vaccinations are safe?
How do we know the janitor is not taking peeping tom videos in the girls locker room?
How do we know another group of students isn't planning the next columbine right now?

We don't know a great many things and life will still go on despite our ignorance.

On bus saftey:
PS: Just turning the school bus seats around so that students face the back of the bus would dramatically reduce injuries in the event of an accident. This could be done without any added equipment or maintenance costs, but it is still not being done by the schools.

posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 04:04 PM
My point was that school districts around the country should take this opportunity to review their policies designed to prevent unsavory characters from insinuating themselves into the system, whether as bus drivers, teachers, or whatever else.

As far as turning the seats around, that's not a bad idea. Have there been any studies on the feasibility of such a move?

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