Security on School Buses

OCTOBER 24, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Many school buses now have video surveillance aboard to monitor the ride. If needed, school administrators can review the tapes for discipline problems.  Valley View Transportation Director Stan Salmons says their bus cameras record everyday, but we asked how often are they really needed?

"Sometimes we'll get two or three calls a week and sometimes we'll go a month without getting a call for one. It just kind of varies," says Salmons.

But Salmons says he's been in the school transportation business for 19 years now and he believes the cameras serve a good purpose when trying to monitor the students aboard.

"You can't see everything but you can see more than if we didn't have them because usually when something happens you're turning or something and you've got your eye on the road," says Salmons.

He says bus video surveillance is helpful, but he believes that having actual monitors would be even better.

"I would like to see a monitor on every school bus, but unfortunately there's no funding for them. When you've got an extra set of eyes on there, especially if they can sit in the back, I think it would be very helpful," says Salmons.

We called around to all the Craighead County Public Schools to see which districts had cameras aboard their buses. Only four of the six districts had cameras, but not on all their buses: Valley View, Jonesboro, Westside, and Brookland.

Although all school buses don't have video surveillance or monitors on all buses, Salmons still says that riding a school bus is much safer for a child than private transportation.

"The national statistic is supposed to be forty times safer, a school bus is supposed to be forty times safer if a child is transported on it than if they're transported by private vehicle," says Salmons.