EAST GREENWICH, R.I. — The arrest of a school bus monitor on child pornography charges has spurred an effort to widen background checks for bus personnel.
Scott Sanford, an Ocean State Transit monitor for East Greenwich Public Schools, was arrested on Oct. 31 for alleged possession and transfer of child pornography. Among the riders on Sanford's bus was state Rep. Anthony Giarrusso's son.
While the monitor had passed the state background check that Rhode Island requires, Giarrusso said that that measure isn't enough. The legislator said that he would introduce a bill to also require national background checks for school bus drivers and monitors in the state.
"No employee screening process is perfect, but at the very least, criminal background checks from both [Rhode Island] and national databases ought to be requirements," Giarrusso said in a message sent to school district parents and posted on East Greenwich Patch.
Sanford reportedly did not have a criminal record in any state.
The school bus monitor was terminated by Ocean State Transit, and a court ordered him to not have any contact with children under age 18 or access to the Internet.
Victor Mercurio, superintendent of East Greenwich Public Schools, and Ocean State Transit representatives held a meeting last week to provide updates on the matter and to answer questions.
"Please be assured that the East Greenwich Public Schools considers the safety of its students as its highest priority," Mercurio said in a message to parents, "and I will continue to pursue every means possible to ensure that safety."
Giarrusso said that there had been no evidence that Sanford exploited any of the children on the bus.
"And I hope and pray that it remains that way through the investigation," Giarrusso said.