Senators Launch Major Effort To Ensure School Bus Safety In The Wake Of Shocking Daily News Revelations

Martin J. Golden

March 23, 2007

Senator Martin Golden (R, C-Brooklyn) and New York State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo (R, Merrick) are announcing that they advancing two bills designed to better ensure the safety and security of children across the State who ride school buses every day. The first bill will require the placement of video monitoring systems on all school buses statewide, and the second bill would require fingerprinting and criminal background checks for all school bus attendants.

The announcement comes amid a series of shocking revelations uncovered by the New York Daily News of sex abuse and violence taking place on school buses. In 2006, 55,000 school buses transported 2.3 million children daily in New York State.

“School buses carry the world’s most precious cargo, and we need to ensure that they provide a safe and secure environment for our kids,” said Senator Golden, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Critical Choices. “New Yorkers place more than 2 million children on the school bus each morning, and we want every one of these kids to arrive safely at their destination.
By placing cameras on buses and requiring background checks for school bus attendants, we can
help keep our kids safe and provide parents across the State with greater peace of mind.”

"When a parent places their child on a school bus each morning, they should be secure in the knowledge that their child will return home safely and free from harm,” Senator Fuschillo said. "These measures will help to safeguard kids throughout New York, and will make clear that we aren’t going to tolerate the kinds of outrageous incidents that have been uncovered by the Daily News."

The legislation to be introduced by Senator Golden will require all school buses statewide to be equipped with one or more on-board video monitoring systems, with the State providing reimbursement to local districts based on current transportation aid formulas.

A second bill (S.3890) introduced by Senator Fuschillo, will help strengthen the qualification procedures for school bus attendants and require fingerprinting and criminal history checks for all school bus attendant job applicants.

This background check requirement would be similar to the requirement that is currently in place for school bus drivers, and would help to ensure that potentially dangerous individuals are weeded out during the job application process.