Rhode Island Representative Calls for Universal Bus Driver Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 11/8/2013

Would you let your child ride on a bus driven or monitored by a convicted criminal? That is the general question being posed this month by a Rhode Island State Representative, who according to the Associated Press, is calling for nationwide focused government mandated background checks for school bus drivers and monitors.

The lawmaker, a Republican politician named Anthony Giarrusso, took his hard stance in favor of bus-related background checks after a bus monitor from his home city of East Greenwich was arrested on charges of child pornography. The monitor was fired after his arrest, but it seems his employers had no knowledge of his past criminal activity up until that point.

For Giarrusso, the case hits particularly close to home: the Rhode Island politician’s son frequently rode the school bus to which the arrested bus monitor was assigned. While no stories have surfaced to suggest that the monitor ever made a sexual advance on any of the children on his bus, Giarrusso clearly considers the case as a “too close for comfort” kind of situation, and responded by introducing legislation that would require nationwide background checks for all bus drivers and monitors.

Whether or not the arrested bus monitor actually had any criminal convictions on his record has not been revealed, though the East Greenwich school bus company did admit that its old screening methods only required a state background check (which the monitor did pass). In the wake of the arrest, the bus company has vowed to reevaluate its background check policies and to begin requiring nationwide checks as well—whether or not Giarrusso’s legislation passes and makes doing so a necessity of law.

Even if Giarusso’s law does not pass, however, the Rhode Island case proves that casting a wider search net to uncover criminal records for bus drivers and bus monitors—or any other school district employees who have close contact with children and teenagers in their day to day work lives—could not possibly hurt. Giarrusso may be a lawmaker with the power to change things, but on a more fundamental level, he is just one of many East Greenwich parents who are alarmed, frightened, and relieved over a potential sex offender’s arrest.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 20 The #MeToo movement is bringing about legislative changes employers need to know about. We review some of the laws recently passed in California.
  • November 19

    Will a criminal conviction show up on your background check forever? In most states, there is a year limit for how long background check companies can report older criminal information.

  • November 15

    Replacing an inconsistent array of procedures, Ontario's government has passed into law a reform act intended to clarify how police departments should handle requests for information to be used in background checks. 

  • November 14 The federal government has vowed to cut its backlog of security clearance background checks in half by spring. Currently, the backlog is approximately 600,000 names strong.
  • November 12 To ensure the best hires, DFWSPF has implemented a stringent employee screening process—one that includes background searches through