Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a new law to help prevent violent felons and sexual predators from becoming school bus drivers. The law, which Senator Fuschillo supported in the Senate, will expand the list of convictions that disqualify individuals from being employed as a school bus driver.
“Violent felons and sexual predators have no business being behind the wheel of a school bus filled with children. When parents put their kids on the school bus every morning, they should know that the driver responsible for their children’s safety does not have a track record of harming children or other violent offenses. I am pleased Governor Cuomo has signed this legislation into law,” said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
The law will expand the types of convictions which disqualify an individual from driving a school bus. Under the law, anyone convicted of the following offenses will be permanently disqualified from driving a school bus:
· aggravated manslaughter in the first or second degree
· aggravated sexual abuse in the second, third, and fourth degree
· sexual abuse in the first degree
· course of sexual conduct against a child in the first or second degree,
· facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance
· predatory sexual assault
· sex trafficking
· disseminating indecent materials to minors in the first degree
· use of a child in a sexual performance
· promoting or possessing a sexual performance by a child
· aggravated assault upon a child less than 11 years old
· luring a child
· persistent sexual abuse
· aggravated criminally negligent homicide
· criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
In addition, the law permanently disqualifies anyone convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, aggravated vehicular homicide, and promoting prostitution in the first, second or third degree. Under prior law, these convictions only resulted in a temporary, five-year disqualification.
The law was supported by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, which noted in a memo that the law was needed “in recognition of the safety and security benefits it will bring to our children.”