After having been caught skipping or falsifying potentially hundreds of required background checks, the City of New York has announced the intention of not only clearing this backlog but also requiring additional checks on drivers. Bus drivers will now follow the same vetting procedure as other Department of Education staff, including requirements for fingerprinting.
Previous reports indicated the Department of Education gave the go-ahead to 100 hires without performing proper checks, introducing the possibility that children were being transported by convicted criminals. This, coupled with inconsistent drop-off and pickup times, left these kids potentially very vulnerable to exploitation.
The City of New York has yet to conduct a full investigation of these claims, but the change in policy to require additional vetting may signal the veracity of previous reports. The person in charge of the city bus system has already been fired, though indications are the dismissal was due to failure to ensure prompt pickup and drop-off of students. These failures left thousands of children in the precarious position of waiting for a bus that never showed. Parents had entrusted the safety of their children to the scheduling of the school system, and the school system failed them.
Though a full report has yet to be released, the City of New York has had a rough few years with providing due diligence, after the New York City Housing Authority was discovered to have put hundreds of children at risk by failing to provide mandated lead paint checks.
If your child has been injured in a bus accident, knowing the driver might not have been properly vetted should be a wake-up call to hold the city accountable for its failures. Please consider consulting with an experienced attorney regarding your case.