McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

Features

May 13, 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
Features
  • Easter Surprise Easter Surprise

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • JECC Eggs 1 JECC Egg Hunt

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Lights On for Louie Lights On For Louie

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baby Fair Baby Fair

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-10-ducks.jpg PAWS: Happy Easter

    As I was growing up, it seemed that Easter was always a time for giving a cute little furry animal as a gift. We seem to associate this holiday with bunnies and chicks, and of course, kitties and puppies.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fairly Snotty McAlester livestock report

    On Tuesday, 1,200 head of cattle were sold at the McAlester Union Stockyards. Steers sold $2 to $9 higher than at the last sale and heifers sold $4 to $8 higher.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 18, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • David Cantrell OSU Extension: Cattle tips for spring

    As we continue to move into spring here in Pittsburg County and cattle prices are at an all-time high, here are a few basic management tips to ensure herd health and productivity of the herd.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICHARDSON 50 1.jpg Richardsons celebrate 50 years of marriage

    Haileyville High School graduates Jim and Connie Richardson, of rural Claremore, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos