Pennsylvania School District Cuts Ties with Transportation Firm over Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 6/21/2016

A mid-state Pennsylvania school district has cut ties with a former transportation contractor over background check concerns. According to a report from The Sentinel—a newspaper based in Carlisle, PA—the Derry Township School District will no longer be working with Boyo Transportation Services, Inc. Last month, the district discovered that one of the men driving for the company was both a convicted felon and a suspect currently under investigation for murder. The suspect wasn't a school bus driver but he did drive special needs children to school in a van.

The discovery that a felon and an accused killer was working as a contractor for Derry Township School District caused an uproar among local parents. The fact that the man's job involved direct contact with children made matters even worse in the eyes of these parents. Derry Township School District only requires background checks for contractors every five years. When the story broke, there was a question of whether or not the district had vetted the man at all.

Police are still investigating the suspect's potential role in the murder of a Swatara Township resident. Excluding that investigation, the district or the transportation company may have had an opportunity to flag the man for his other criminal history. Before he was a murder suspect, the man was convicted of reckless driving and aggravated assault—both charges that may have been grounds to prevent him from transporting children.

The report from The Sentinel says that the Derry Township School District is still in the process of auditing its internal policies. However, at a recent school board meeting, the district did clarify one thing: the blame for this oversight was, in their eyes, not entirely the fault of the school district. The school district has cut ties with Boyo Transportation Services, citing the company’s failure to adhere to contractual terms. Based on Boyo's contract with Derry Township School District, the company should have vetted each of its drivers thoroughly. The company apparently didn’t complete that step, which provided the justification for the contract termination.

Boyo Transportation Services may have failed to meet its contractual terms, but the school district did not perform a background check of their own to vet the company's drivers. Per the Sentinel report, the mother of one of the special needs students who rode with the suspect feels the burden rests on the district. She wants better background checks for school contractors or, at very least, copies of those checks on file with the district. Some members of the community argue that even if the district does not run extra background checks on each driver, administrators could require their transportation company to submit copies of each driver’s background check report. Supporters believe such a policy would introduce more vigilance and oversight into the process instead of giving the district the option to assume that background checks were already happening.


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