Eye on Education

Accused Cleveland Kidnapper Ariel Castro Enjoyed “Working With Children”

Cleveland Police Department

Ariel Castro, 52, has been arrested in connection with the disappearances of three young women.

Ariel Castro applied for a job as a Cleveland school bus driver more than 20 years ago because he enjoyed “working with children.”

He was fired in November, just six months before his arrest in connection with the disappearances of three young Cleveland women: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.

Berry and DeJesus both went missing as teenagers about a decade ago.

And while Castro was accused of domestic violence at least twice after he began working for the Cleveland school district, district records contain no mention of the accusations.

District records also show that Castro consented to a pre-employment criminal background check, but contain no mention of that check being completed.

We’ve asked the Cleveland school district about the domestic violence accusations and the background check but have not yet heard back from a district spokesperson.

Ariel Castro’s brothers Pedro and Onil Castro were also arrested in connection with the disappearances.

The three women disappeared separately about a decade ago. They escaped Monday from Ariel Castro’s house on Cleveland’s near West side. Law enforcement officials told WKYC the women had been repeatedly raped and beaten.

Michelle Knight, who went missing at age 20, had attended one of the schools Ariel Castro’s bus route covered. It’s unclear if she knew him through the bus route.

Castro was hired by the Cleveland school district in in November 1991. In the following years, he faced at least two separate domestic violence charges:

  • Castro was arrested in 1993 in connection with a domestic violence charge against his former wife. A grand jury declined to indict him, according to ABC News.
  • And in 2005, the same woman filed a domestic violence petition against Castro, saying he severely beat her and repeatedly threatened to kill her and her two daughters, WKYC reported.

Castro made several mistakes on the job before being fired, according to district records. Castro was disciplined for making an illegal u-turn in rush-hour traffic; using the school bus to do his grocery shopping; and leaving a student with special needs alone on the bus while he ate lunch at a Wendy’s restaurant.

Castro also ignored a bloody fight among students on his bus, according to district records. He was never disciplined for that incident.

He was eventually fired for leaving his bus unattended in front of a school for four hours, blocking the school’s emergency lane.

And yet when Castro faced disciplinary action in 2009, the principal of one of the schools Castro drove for wrote a formal letter of support, saying “I have witnessed him trying to work with students, families and myself to handle student issues.”


  • Lorraine Pryor

    Unbelievable So sad he kept getting away with murder……

  • Criminals

    Thats the problem with Cleveland and it’s schools, they are so desperate to keep people when things go wrong or are reported they continuously ignore things, this accounts for half of the violence that happens in Cleveland Public Schools on all levels from Pre-School through High-School, school officials and those in the administration are always so willing to turn a blind eye, then when something tragic happens they try to pretend that they weren’t aware of a situation. They don’t do enough to protect students from themselves or from rouge personnel. If they had a zero tolerance policy for both students and employees and actually enforced it things would be very different. I am not degreed but I believe that I could run Cleveland Public Schools Better than all the so called degreed professionals who have proven that their degrees don’t mean diddly.

    If teachers didn’t produce certain passing rates they would not get a raise, if administrators didn’t properly oversee the administration of the schools and it’s personnel they would be demoted as would their pay, bus drivers have a duty to control their buses and the bus should contain bus monitors who have been trained in self defense and restraint techniques because that is definitely needed in Cleveland Public Schools and may come handy dealing with some unruly parents who refuse to accept that some children perhaps it maybe one of theirs isn’t behaving and may become verbally or physically combative

    Classrooms should contain no more than 10 students to a class and that should be considered over crowded because 8 students should be the ideal number and each teacher should only teach one specific course, the one they are most strongest in teaching and should teach between 7-8 classes a day seeing a set of 8 no more than upto 10 students per class, Do not mix grades, that is a horrible mistake because usually the older children in higher grades most times are bullying those in the lower grades. You can’t teach children social skills by forcing them to endure hostile situations on a daily basis, this is how schools develop into incidents like Columbine etc.

    Students who truly desire to learn should not be forced to endure and exist with students who don’t or have no respect or desire to be educated, that within itself will create student resentment and lack of desire to learn or continue their education which is why so many do drop out, teachers who don’t control their class, unruly students should not be allowed to return to a class they have disrupted misbehaving and teachers should be attentive enough to ensure that bullying isn’t occurring because that will cause outbust from victims of bullying and may even further victimize the victim because the victim may seem like they are being disruptive while the bully gets aways with whatever they did that resulted in the victims outburst.

    Question?????? Why are teachers and school officials with Associates, BA’s, Masters and PH.D’s who we know are required at some point to take psychology not using all the tools of their education to identify problems?

    I think students and parents should build a forum exposing what officials are doing or not doing in school. Since so many schools require parents to make an appointment or call first before coming so that they can publicly announce to the school and teachers visitors will be in the building which I think is wrong, if your doing what your suppose to be doing as an official that would not be necessary but anyways .. I said a mouthful Carry on………………..

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