Administrators hope cameras will improve school bus safety for kids

This school year will feature five new perspectives. Marshall County Schools Director of Transportation Jeff Stokes says a new five-point camera system installed on 55 buses will allow him and school administrators monitor what happens on the buses. 

"People get in the argument ‘No, I didn’t do this’ or ‘No, my child didn’t do this,’" Stokes said.

Those are the common arguments he hears from students and parents when student incidents occur. Stokes walked through the bus and showed us where each camera is placed and what it views. 

There are three cameras that show the interior of the bus cabin. Two cameras are directly above the driver’s seat. The one that faces the door also shows the driver’s seat and allows the school transportation department to monitor bus drivers. That ensures each driver is safely operating the vehicle. The second camera above the driver faces the back of the bus and captures the entire front half of the cabin.

A third camera mounted at the center of the bus, facing the back door, captures the back half of the cabin. A fourth camera is mounted in the front window and captures the driver’s view while the fifth camera is mounted outside. The outside camera faces the bus stop sign and catches the license plates of cars that speed by the bus when the stop sign is deployed.

School bus driver Lynn Copeland sees cars ignore the bus stop sign all the time.

"I don’t really think they stop and think about children crossing the highway when they roll right through it." Copeland said.

The front-facing camera and outside rear-facing cameras provide video evidence the school transportation department needs to prosecute drivers who break the law and endanger the lives of students. 

"You need to stop and think. That could be your child crossing that street. Their safety is the most important thing as far as getting them on and off of this bus and getting them home." Copeland said. 

It cost the school district a total of $137,000 to equip the 55 buses with these cameras. All 52 bus routes in Marshall County will be constantly recorded. The cameras record both video and audio. 

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