School bus drivers go through extensive background checks and training

CBS 21

During the next few weeks, the wheels on the bus will begin going round and round as kids head back to school. But before the tires turn, a lot of information is gathered to make sure your prized possessions are safe.

They're back. A new school year means the big yellow buses will once again be taking over the roads.

“Bus drivers have a lot of responsibility and one of them is to make sure that the children are safe,” said Rohrer bus driver Christina Persing.

But before worrying about the kid's safety, Persing and all school bus drivers in Pennsylvania have to go through an extensive background check and training.

“We require all of our bus companies to provide us with the proper documentation,” said Cumberland Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Fred Withum.

That proper documentation includes a criminal background check through the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI fingerprinting; an Act 24 form which discloses arrests and convictions; and a child abuse screening as well as mandatory child abuse reporting certificate.

School bus drivers are considered a mandatory reporter if they suspect a case of abuse.

“They do not pass go, you report immediately and then let the state sort out the pieces,” Withum said.

The background checks don't even account for the training. Before a driver can get behind the wheel for a company like Rohrer, they complete a 20-hour class while agreeing to a physical every 13 months.

Background checks for school bus drivers came into question in the spring when Boyo Transportation driver Archie Wright was charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend. The Derry Township van driver had a 2007 conviction for aggravated assault which should have precluded him from driving kids.

Despite this tragic case, Withum says parents should feel confident that your kids are safe.

“The safest place to and from school statistically is a school bus,” he said.

If you are looking for employment, bus companies like Rohrer are always looking for candidates to become bus drivers.