Classes in the Crestwood School District were cancelled after officials noticed background checks for their bus drivers were not current.
Outdated Background Checks Cause Safety Concerns
In October 2018, the Superintendent of Crestwood School District in Pennsylvania announced that schools would be temporarily closed. Bus drivers for this district did not have up-to-date background checks which meant they weren’t “fully certified” to provide transportation for students. The responsibility to ensure drivers are properly screened was said to fall on the school district, not the bus company.
Because of this situation, officials at Crestwood were “very concerned about the safety of the kids.” School policy mandates that each background check is valid for five years and then a new one is required. Without current and ongoing background checks there is no way for the district to be certain the drivers have not incurred a new criminal record or driving offense that would make them ineligible to remain employed.
PA Requirements For Bus Drivers
According to an article in a PA newspaper, schools are required to keep files on every bus driver in the district. The files must include a copy of each person’s driver’s license, an endorsement from the school, results of their annual medical exam and a current criminal background check. In addition, the file must contain a state child abuse clearance document and, if applicable, the person’s arrest and conviction history.
The Superintendent admitted that many of their files were outdated. Since this was discovered, all of the drivers authorized new background checks. Nearly half of the requests were approved on the first day. The remaining requests were expected to be authorized the following day.
School Is Disrupted For At Least Two Days
Schools in the Crestwood district anticipated at least a two-day closure while this was sorted out. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a news conference about this issue. He noted that the responsibility for properly maintaining files and background screening documents on school employees falls on the district’s administrators. He stated: “Because they didn’t do their jobs, students and the parents of that district were now thrown into chaos because of their lack of due diligence.”
Parents in the district were surprised and upset to learn that schools would be closed unexpectedly. While they can appreciate the efforts being made towards safety, this situation forced people to make last-minute accommodations for children who would have otherwise been attending classes. The district has been called upon to take steps that ensure this does not occur again.
The Importance Of Ongoing Background Screening
Background checks are an essential tool for every business. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including ensuring that workers remain eligible to be employed. Best practice is to run a comprehensive background check on all potential employees and annual screenings for all active staff.
Running background checks shows you are taking steps to create a safe work place and making efforts to protect your customers and the public. They are like an economical insurance policy that can help protect your business and prevent issues like the one in the PA Crestwood School District.
If you have questions about your background screening policies, please contact us. We can help you build a plan that is fair, transparent and shows you are performing your due diligence. Our experienced team is available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm to assist you.