Video cameras recommended for school district buses
Recent incidences this school year have forced Tracy Rockers to recommend installing video cameras on all Baldwin School District school buses.
Rockers, USD 348 director of transportation, made the recommendation at the Nov. meeting, but the item was tabled until the next month. On Monday night, the USD 348 Board of Education will once again be discussing Rockers' recommendation and possibly voting on the issue.
“Bus safety is the number one concern for the transportation drivers,” Rockers said. “They want to get the kids to and from school safely. It's going to be used a tool to enhance that efficiency. Hopefully, it will help everybody.
“By using it as a tool, we're going to help prevent issues, but also have it in case something happens,” she said. “Getting it now, instead of waiting until something really happens, will help us use it a preventative tool.”
Rockers wouldn't discuss specific details about the system she recommended, but she did say it would be installed on every bus. She also said each camera would be equipped with SD memory cards that she can pull out and plug into her computer to watch videos.
“I will go pull the SD cards out of the camera and pop them in my computer,” Rockers said. “It will be used strictly by myself and the administrators. It will be used for our review, if need be.”
Rockers said Baldwin is one of only a few school districts in the area that doesn't have surveillance on its fleet of buses. She took over as director of transportation last year and since taking over she's trying to stay ahead of potential problems that could arise on the buses.
“One of my goals is to be proactive, instead of reactive,” Rockers said. “I've been busy throughout this first year, so everything has felt like it's more reactive. This will be my first big step on being proactive on issues that may arise.
“I want the drivers to be watching the road at all times, not the kids behind them,” she said. “This is one way to do that. It's a good tool for the drivers.”
At the November school baord meeting, Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the district has zero cameras on its buses and should look into purchasing some because of recent incidences. He said many of those come down to a “he said, she said” situation and currently there is no way to prove innocence or guiltiness by either party involved.
The school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., but the regular sesssion won't begin until 7 p.m. The bus cameras will be early in the meeting, during the financial report.