Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are hoping to pass a bill into law that requires schools to background check school bus drivers. The bill is in response to a Des Moines Register investigation that showed some drivers in large school districts have been charged with serious crimes in the past, including drunk driving. Both Steve Hollan, Transportation Director at Mid-Prairie, and Woody Harden, the Transportation Director for the Washington School District, say they already do background checks on their drivers. They say it seems obvious that if an employee is going to be around children and driving a bus, they should have a background check. But the process isn’t required by Iowa law.
This new bill, if signed by Governor Branstad, would make it a legal requirement. But both schools check during the pre-employment process, with no future background checks. Lawmakers are pushing to require a new background check every five years to coincide with driver’s license renewals.
KCII has checked online court records of the bus drivers in Washington School District, and other than minor driving violations, no serious crimes were found.