Legislation (S.3100), sponsored by Senator John J. Bonacic (R/C/I – Mt. Hope), passed the Senate on March 7, 2011. The legislation expands the list of crimes for which a person is prohibited from becoming a school bus driver.
David Moraca, Director of Transportation for the Onteora School District and Member of New York Association for Pupil Transportation, inspired the legislation in a letter to the editor of the Daily Freeman in January 2011. David pointed out that the Penal Code violations enumerated in Section 509 (cc) have not been updated since 1986, which prompted the Senate to amend the legislation.
New crimes for which a conviction would permanently ban a person from being a school bus driver include: reckless assault of a child, aggravated assault upon a person less than 11 years old, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, sexual misconduct, rape in the third degree, forcible touching, persistent sexual abuse, sexual abuse in the third, second or first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the third or second degree, course of sexual conduct against a child in the first or second degree, female genital mutilation, predatory sexual assault, predatory sexual assault against a child, disseminating indecent material to minors in the second or first degree, unlawfully dealing with a child in the first or second degree, use of a child in a sexual performance, promoting or possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child and promoting or possessing a sexual performance by a child.
“This legislation is essential to protect students,” said Senator John Bonacic. “Without updating Section 509 of the Penal Code violations, an individual convicted of a variety of sex crimes, including crimes against children would be able to pass the required background check and become a school bus driver. I commend David Moraca’s efficient dedication to protecting the children in his district, not only will his competency protect the children in Onetora School District, but all of the children in New York State.
The bill passed the Senate with a unanimous 59-0 vote.