THE FOLLOWING WAS DISTRIBUTED VIA LISTSERV YESTERDAY TO PARENTS OF ALL EG SCHOOL STUDENTS
Dear members of the East Greenwich School Community:
This message is a follow up to my post on today’s Patch regarding school bus drivers and the District's efforts to keep our kids safe.
I write these words as your state representative and as a father of a child that was on the very bus in question. Thankfully there is no evidence of any of our children being exploited by the actions of the arrested bus monitor and I hope and pray that it remains that way through the investigation.
After discussing this issue with Dr. Victor Mercurio, I contacted my legislative staff at the statehouse to get a clear understanding of what the current state laws are with regard to background checks for bus drivers and monitors.
State law currently dictates that bus drivers and bus monitors must have a statewide background check before being considered for employment. That’s not enough background checking when it comes to the safety of our children.
I will introduce legislation on the earliest day possible, November 15th to mandate nationwide background checks for all drivers and monitors. This bill will be submitted on day one of the next legislative session which starts on January 7, 2014. Although no employee screening process is perfect, but at the very least, criminal background checks from both RI and national databases ought to be requirements.
If you have other thoughts or concerns, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to hear your perspectives, and do what we can to improve our oversight of those employed to take care of our children.
Please take this opportunity to use this negative event into a teachable moment for your children. Janet and I have had numerous discussions with our children to warn them of the traps and pitfalls to watch out for regardless of familiarity with an individual. I urge you to do the same.
House Committee on Labor
House Committee on Small Business
Legislative Regulation Committee on the State Building Code
Permanent Joint Committee on Economic Development.