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Bus Driver System in Question

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Parents in Ozaukee County were shocked to find out a registered sex offender had been driving their kids to school, and three other bus drivers had criminal records.

Local bus companies say they do all they can to make sure that does not happen here, but they say parents need to take some action too.

Eighty-five bus drivers head out from Laidlaw Transit in Wausau every day to pick up 4,500 children. Before someone sits in the drivers seat, officials say steps are taken to make sure kids get to and from school safely.

"We do everything we physically can to reassure parents that we've got the right person behind the wheel," said Leon Antoniewicz, Laidlaw Transit's Branch Manager. "We do everything we physically can to reassure parents that we've got the right person behind the wheel."

Antoniewicz says the company does a criminal background check on all full-time employees, but he says sometimes it is hard to get all the information he wants.

"Once you come to another state, if you've gotten another drivers license, it can be difficult," Antoniewicz said. "Sometimes you have success. Sometimes you don't. And you just don't get that information."

So how can parents do their part to make sure their kids are safe?

"We encourage the parents to meet the bus and know the driver," said Antoniewicz.

He also says that parents can always call the office if they're concerned about their child's safety.

Everyone who applies to be a school bus driver in Wisconsin must also go through a background check with the Department of Justice.