Madison County schools taking new precautions after driver DUI arrest

Madison County schools taking new precautions after police arrest driver for DUI
Madison County schools taking new precautions after police arrest driver for DUI

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Madison County school system is making changes to its hiring policy following the arrest of a bus driver for DUI. 

James Watwood underwent a background check in 2007 when he first became a bus driver for the county. That background check revealed a domestice violence arrest in 2000.
READ MORE: Madison Co. bus driver arrested following crash involving bus

Madison County Schools director of operations Dan Evans says the arrest was due to an issue between Watwood and his wife during divorce proceedings. Evans says the charge was dismissed, which is why Watwood was not disqualified from the bus driver position.

The district says in the past, drivers would only have to undergo the initial background check. The school system would not be aware of any crimes or arrests that happened once a driver was hired.

Now, in light of this oversight and Watwood working for an additional six years after being arrested for possession of a controlled substance, the district has changed its policies.

Now, the system will be complete yearly criminal background checks instead of one background check when employees are hired.
"They're supposed to voluntarily tell us if they have an incident of any kind," said Evans. "Now, we're going to be more proactive and do it at least once a year ourselves plus work with the sheriff department and the district attorney's office."
Evans also says if any good can come from the incident in May, it's that now this stricter policies are in place to keep kids safer.

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