Blog

 
     

Montana Considers Universal Background Checks for School Bus Drivers

By Michael Klazema on 12/9/2013

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is currently in the process of drafting new legislation that would require every school district in the state to conduct criminal background checks on their bus drivers prior to employment.

Many districts in the state already have significant employment screening processes in place for both bus drivers and teachers, as both positions give employees frequent close contact with children. However, an audit last spring called the state’s employment screening policies into question for bus drivers, finding that eight bus drivers in the state had records of some sort of undisclosed “moral conduct” that rendered their employment questionable. The audit indicated that the same instances of “immoral conduct” would not have been allowed to pass for state teachers, and therefore should not be ignored for bus drivers either.

The audit looked at records of all active school bus drivers in the state, a number that totals 1,435. Out of that 1,435, eight is at least a fairly miniscule percentage—0.557 percent, to be exact—but has still encouraged the Montana Office of Public Instruction to call for tighter employment restrictions for bus drivers.

The Office of Public Instruction’s plan for revamping bus driver background checks would demand that school districts run full background checks on bus driver applicants. However, according to a report from KAJ18.com, a local news source based in Kalispell, Montana, the people of the Montana Association of School Boards have their own ideas for how to implement stronger bus driver screening.

The school board association insisted that bus drivers could go through a two-pronged check for maximum effectiveness. The first step would take place at the state level, when prospective bus drivers apply with the state to get their commercial driver’s license. As far as the Montana Association of School Boards is concerned, this stage would be the perfect place for the state’s Department of Justice to step in and conduct a thorough criminal background check.

A driver who passed the state criminal check would then go on to apply for specific jobs with specific school districts, which would then be beholden to look further into that driver’s background before approving their employment. For instance, the school district could check the driver’s employment history, as well as references and education, to get a better sense of who that person is as a professional. Backgroundchecks.com, for instance, has services that look into both criminal histories and professional or educational histories—both types of background checks that are valuable to run on prospective employees.

Whether or not the Office of Public Instruction will heed the Montana Association of School Boards’ advice will be revealed in January, when the bus driver background check proposal goes before the state’s Board of Public Education.

Sources: http://www.kaj18.com/news/background-checks-for-montana-school-bus-drivers-considered/


Tag Cloud
Categories
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 backgroundchecks.com.