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
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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]