Tulsa School Board To Vote On Plan To Put New Cameras In Every Bus

Wednesday, November 20th 2013, 10:56 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa School administrators want cameras on every school bus. They're hoping this will increase safety and accountability for the district.

It's a move many parents want to see happen ASAP.

In one video that recently went viral, a Florida woman is seen getting on a school bus and slapping a child who allegedly hit her kid. Another video caught a bus monitor beating and biting a teenager.

"If something happens, you can't just take a kid's word for what happened," said Tulsa resident Linda Whalen. "You have to know what happened and with a camera, you could."

Whalen's elementary-aged granddaughters ride the bus to school every day.

"Even this size, they've had some slaps on the bus and some hits and disturbances, and the bus driver can't watch them all and make them mind," Whalen said.

That's why Tulsa Public Schools is asking the board to consider installing cameras on all buses. There are cameras on less than one-third of the district's 300-bus fleet.

11/20/2013 Related Story: Skiatook 6th Grader Says Teen Boy Punched Her On The School Bus

Some TPS buses have cameras in the front and back of the bus, but they're out of date and sometimes unreliable.

"Sometimes we may find that perhaps a camera is not working properly," said TPS Assistant Transportation Director. "It may not produce the quality of video that we need to further investigate any situations that are underway."

It would cost the district roughly $600,000 to equip every bus with a camera. There will also be a DVR system, which will make it easier to retrieve the video.

"We want to look at the safety of the students, which is always paramount," Vann-Jackson said.

"It should be done. The sooner the better, just for the kids' sake, and bus drivers, because sometimes kids can get out of line. And I think kids need to be safe whenever they're on the bus, even at school," said parent Anna Martinez.

The school board will vote on this in a little less than two weeks. If approved, the district will buy the cameras with money from a 2010 bond. They hope to have them installed by the spring.