MPS defending itself after bus drivers shown with criminal records

Rob Koebel

MPS defending itself after bus drivers shown with criminal records

CREATED Apr. 27, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 27, 2012

MILWAUKEE- MPS is defending itself after a big I-Team investigation.  The I-Team uncovered school bus drivers with criminal records, taking your kids to school.
In a MPS tape recorded message sent out to parents, "In recent days it was reported to MPS that a few school bus drivers had information in their background checks that needed a second look."
That's part of a recorded phone message blasted out to all MPS parents.  The district has more than 1,000 drivers that bus kids to and from school.

The I-Team discovered some of those drivers have a shady past, like former bus driver Melissa Dumas.
Rob Koebel: "You are a school bus driver we did a background check on you and we found you were arrested for prostitution."
Melissa Dumas:  "Are you kidding me?"
A father whose child rides her bus was shocked.
Rob Koebel: "So you think what we're doing is OK?"
Father: "I think it's great."
The district is aware of the I-Team's findings after the I-Team ran background checks using public records and the district is defending the bus companies.
"Every driver goes through at least two background checks, one at the company level and one at the state level," said Mike Turza, MPS Director of Business Services
But those background checks didn't stop Dumas, who has a 2005 conviction for prostitution -- from being hired to drive kids.  MPS says that record would bar her from employment as a school bus driver.

"On face value of it, no she should have never been there, OK...I don't know what happened," said Turza.
Durham Bus Services, employed by MPS, issued this statement to the I-Team:
"We have learned the conviction in question was not disclosed on the employee's application, nor was it included in the criminal report we obtained prior to hiring the employee."
Dumas no longer works for Durham Bus Services.  It's a decision that is drawing mixed reactions. Should a shady past keep someone from working around kids?
"Probably shouldn't be working around kids," said father Scott Pagliaroni.  "I would think there are plenty of other lines of work out there."

The I-Team also discovered a couple bus drivers with concerning driving records. Plus, Dumas was cited for inattentive driving while driving a school bus in 2009.