Local school leaders address school bus safety in wake of fatal Tennessee crash

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 10:28:18-05

After the tragic accident in Tennessee we wanted to see what goes into hiring school bus drivers here in Michigan and what parents should do if they have concerns.

Dr Steve Matthews, Superintendent of the Novi Community School District says bus drivers in his district have to go through extensive background checks before being hired - including fingerprinting and criminal history review.

Still he says they have to undergo more testing and training before they can have their own route.

The Michigan Department of Education says that's how it works at all schools across the state - even if they are only sub school bus drivers, adding conduct reports from previous employers are required too.

Five children in Chattanooga, Tennessee died after police say the school bus 24-year-old Johnthony Walker was driving slammed into a tree, flipped over and split apart.

Six-other kids remain hospitalized.

Walker is now charged with vehicular homicide as the investigation into what happened continues.

Here at home, the state says drivers have to undergo random drug and alcohol testing too, and will not be hired if they have seven or more penalty points on their license.

While, schools are not mandated to have cameras and GPS devices on their buses, many do, including the ones in Novi.

Parents if you want to report an incident about your child's school bus driver, the Department of Education says report it to your child's school district as well as the police.