New Jersey Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen District 37) and Connie Wagner (D-Bergan District 38) are working to strengthen existing state bus safety laws by requiring background checks on all school bus aides (employees who monitor and maintain safety on school buses). The existing law only requires that background checks are performed on school bus drivers.
The proposed legislation, measure A-4030 (School Bus Safety and Child Protection Act) would also require bus aides to pass a criminal background check as well as add new requirements for tampering with school bus monitoring devices.
The bill would require bus drivers and aides in public and private school districts, as well as any educational institution that receives public funding for busing to be screened for criminal records. Any convictions found or an admission of guilt would result in immediate termination.
Common sense would dictate that background check should be performed on any employee who has contact with children, no matter what their position. In this instance, the existing law requires bus drivers to pass a background check but not aides. This does not take into consideration the fact that bus drivers are basically stationary as the bus is moving while bus aides are free to move around the moving bus. As a parent, I feel that any adult that is responsible for the supervision of children should be required by law to pass a thorough background check.