Niagara Gazette

Community News Network

May 10, 2013

Do school bus drivers undergo background checks?

Ariel Castro was charged Wednesday with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape in the Cleveland, abductions now dominating national news. Castro was a school bus driver from 1991 to 2012, during which time he was accused of domestic violence. Do they perform background checks on school bus drivers?

Yes. Potential Ohio school bus drivers submit to a state and federal criminal background check before they can be hired. Once they are behind the big wheel, a computer checks the drivers' names against state arrest records on a nightly basis. A federal criminal background check is supposed to be repeated every six years.

At the time Castro applied to become a bus driver in 1991, he appears to have had no criminal record, so the initial background checks would have been clean. Grimilda Figueroa, with whom he had children, claimed he beat her savagely in 1993, breaking her nose and ribs and causing a blood clot in her brain. Castro was never tried for the incident, however, because Figueroa failed to appear before the grand jury that was set to indict Castro. (Figueroa later said that Castro bribed and threatened her to prevent her from testifying.) The incident, therefore, would not appear on an Ohio state criminal background check, which reports only convictions. The daily check of arrests that Ohio now performs for school personnel would have turned up the incident, but it wasn't instituted until 2009, more than 15 years after the domestic violence accusation.

 Why didn't the arrest turn up on Castro's repeat federal background checks? It's not entirely clear. If Castro was fingerprinted in connection with the arrest and local law enforcement submitted the information to the FBI, it should have appeared on a federal criminal background check with a notation stating that the grand jury failed to indict Castro. The temporary restraining order that Figueroa took out against Castro in 2005 would also have appeared in the federal criminal background check if submitted to the FBI. Either the information wasn't submitted to federal authorities - participation by local officials is voluntary - or the follow-up federal background checks weren't conducted.

Ohio has had trouble with the criminal background checks of school bus drivers in the past. In 2007, the Columbus school system closed temporarily while the state investigated the criminal and driving records of dozens of drivers hired from a third-party company that had failed to conduct the required checks. Five of the 60 drivers failed the background checks.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-HB0713-HowardMartin-004.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    The mystery of what happened to a military transport plane that disappeared in the fall of 1952 into an Alaskan glacier was solved two years ago when a helicopter crew spotted the wreckage. But it took another two years to retrieve the remains of Airman Howard Miller and 16 other servicemen passengers. Saturday, Miller was laid to rest in his hometown of Elwood, Ind., with full military honors. Hundreds turned out for the funeral and burial services.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page