HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s auditor general says ineligible drivers have been allowed to get behind the wheel of school buses.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit that looked back to 2008 and found at least 10 bus drivers had criminal records that should have banned them from transporting students.
At a news conference on Tuesday, DePasquale said at least one drivers had an assault conviction and others had convictions for drug possession.
“To say this is insane would be an understatement,” he said.
DePasquale pointed to the School District of Lancaster as the “most extreme case”. He said 21 of 132 Lancaster bus drivers didn’t meet employment standards.
“Protecting the students must be a top priority,” DePasquale said. “From Sandusky to Nassar at Michigan State, it is amazing how many times the lessons are simply not learned.”
DePasquale The auditor general said most of the problems occurred when school districts contracted out their busing services.
DePasquale also said that if his office hadn’t informed tell the districts about the drivers, they would still be driving.
“This should be a message to all school districts, all over Pennsylvania, it is your responsibility not the responsibility of the contractor to make sure the people driving these buses are legally allowed to do it,” DePasquale said.
School administrators at the School District of Lancaster said they have since updated all drivers’ files to include any arrests and convictions.
“We have put standards in place that apply the same high level of scrutiny to driver applicants as are applied to all [district] employees,” administrators said in a statement.
“We are responsible for our students’ safety not only at school but also on our school buses. The adjustments we have made will ensure that we fulfill that obligation and that only fully vetted and qualified drivers are behind the wheel.”