School Bus Background Check

By Michael Klazema on 5/15/2018

According to the American School Bus Council, there are approximately 480,000 school buses operating in the United States daily. Each day, these buses carry some 25 million children to and from school—roughly half of all school-aged children in the United States.

School buses have a substantial role to play in America’s mass transit and educational industries. However, the buses can’t do the work alone: they need to be operated by bus drivers, and those drivers need to be validated by school bus background checks.

Though school bus drivers are responsible for the safety and well-being of millions of school children across the United States, the background checks they face are often lacking in depth or detail. The reason is most school districts in the U.S. are facing bus driver shortages. As a result, the standards these drivers are held to have been loosened in recent years.

To keep students safe, every school bus driver background check should include the following.

  • Driving history recordsSchool bus drivers need to be safe and responsible on the road. A driving history check can verify a driver has the necessary license to drive a school bus (a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL) and does not have a history of violations that might indicate reckless or unsafe driving habits.
  • Employment verificationsHas the bus driver worked in a driving capacity before? Verifying previous employers and speaking to references can shed light on a candidate’s accountability.
  • Criminal history checksDoes the candidate have a history of criminal activity such as kidnapping, theft, drug use, or any violent or sexual offenses? A thorough criminal check can find the answers. Sex offender registry checks are also recommended given the nature of the role and the requirement of working near children.
  • Social Security Number traceA Social Security Number trace can reveal past names, aliases, and addresses associated with a candidate. This information can be used to flesh out background checks or can raise flags about the validity of a person’s identity.
  • Drug screeningSchools should be drug-free workplaces, and that policy should extend to school buses. All school bus drivers should go through a drug screening before hiring.

Implementing a thorough school bus background check that includes the elements listed above will help protect students. School districts should insist on these background checks for all bus drivers even if they rely on third-party agencies to provide school busing services.


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  • 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.
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    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