Derby School District Installs Video Cameras in All School Buses

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Derby school bus driver Charles Jeffries will soon have eyes in the back of his head.

"It's going to make it easier for the drivers," Jeffries said.

Now in his 13th year behind the wheel of a Derby school bus, he's seen all kinds of bad behavior.

"The students can get wild, they can throw objects, like paper balls, basketballs, teddy bears," Jeffries said. "It's a little scary sometimes."

Rarely does he know exactly what is going on because he has his back to the students. But that's about to change.

The Derby School District has just finished outfitting all of its nearly 60 school buses with small video cameras. The cameras are placed in lock boxes above the bus driver at the front of the bus.

The cameras cost about $5,000, district leaders said.

"It helps with disciplinary issues, but it also ensures safety first and foremost because kids know they are on camera, that they are being recorded all the time," said Tom Snodgrass, Director of Operations for the Derby School District.

It's a big step up for the district which, until this year, had less than a dozen cameras to go around.

"We missed incidences because we didn't have 100 percent coverage that we won't miss today," Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass says it will make it easier to hold students and drivers accountable. The video all goes on a digital card.

"We're able to pull that SD card after two weeks of recording, up to two weeks anyway, and take snipets off that card and sent it to principals so they can see how their particular student was behaving that day on the bus," Snodgrass said.

Most parents say go ahead and hit the record button.

"That would give some piece of mind because people know they are being monitored just having that in mind prevents kids and adults from doing things they ought not to," Derby's Danny Adams said.

They say it puts discipline in the hands of the administrators and helps drivers such as Charles Jeffries stay focused on their job.

"We will have our eyes on the front 99% of the time,"Jeffries said.

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