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Minn. To Study Bus-Driver Licensing

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A Minnesota task force on school-bus safety that was appointed last year by the state legislature has turned its attention from accidents to the issue of monitoring the criminal records of bus drivers.

The shift in priorities was decided upon after Guy Phillip Jackman, who has been a school-bus driver for the district since 1975, was charged last month with murder, according to Ray Kroll, director of the district's transportation center and a member of the task force.

Mr. Jackman was subsequently found to have a prior criminal record that included felony and burglary convictions and two attempted prison escapes. He was on probation for the 1983 burglary conviction when he was arrested last month, has been discharged from his job, and is presently in custody, Mr. Kroll said.

The state Department of Public Safety is required by law to run investigations of applicants for school-bus driver's licenses. Applicants are disqualified only if they are found to have been convicted of crimes against people in the five years prior to their application.

The task force is considering the possibility of conducting criminal checks not only when an individual applies for a bus-driving job, but after he or she is hired and as frequently as every six months, according to Mr. Kroll.--ab

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