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Officials Doing Things Right
School administrators in Hamilton County Ohio now have the opportunity to receive free live updates any time their bus drivers run afoul of the county’s criminal justice system. County Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann offered the service Monday in a letter to local schools as a way of preventing potentially dangerous drivers from slipping under the current driver screening process.
The letter to public and private schools and school districts offers free Instant Background Checks and live updates on their drivers if the schools provide the Clerk’s office with a confidential list of the drivers' names.
Schools that accept the offer will automatically receive the public record on any of their school bus employees immediately after they have been cited, charged or convicted. School systems previously had to request a Instant Background Check to update their drivers' records.
"The service we're providing comes at no cost to the school districts," Hartmann said. "We're trying to find the best use of this information to do the best we can to serve our community."
Ohio state law requires schools to run a Instant Background Check on bus drivers through the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation prior to hiring them, then every six years afterward. Hartmann said his offer came in response to two high-profile cases in Northern Kentucky in which bus drivers failed to provide safe environments for the students in their charge.
In January, a former Boone County bus driver, Andrew Grabow, 40, was indicted and accused of videotaping himself having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student who rode his bus.
Then there was the case of Angelynna Young, 28, who pleaded guilty to drug possession, wanton endangerment and assault after she sent a bus-load of Grant County Middle School students flying when she lost control of the bus and hit a utility pole on U.S. 25 in January. Two of the students were critically injured. Young received a 22-year prison sentence.
"Current state law regulating bus drivers is just not strong enough when considering the best interests of our children," Hartmann said. "The current law narrowly focuses on driving records and does not focus enough on comprehensive Instant Background Checks done on a more routine basis."
Source: Cincinnati Post
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