Beaufort Co. School Board to vote on installing bus cameras

Beaufort Co. School Board to vote on installing bus cameras

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - 60 percent of schools in South Carolina already have them and Beaufort County could be next.

The first thing on the agenda for the Beaufort County School Board meeting is a vote on whether or not to install video cameras on the district's fleet of buses. Board co-chair Laura Bush says she's voting yes.

"It's very hard for a bus driver to keep his eyes on the road and on the students and what's going on behind them. It's a safety factor," said Bush.

Bush says discussions about school bus cameras have come up in the past but it was one mother's crusade that brought the issue to the forefront. Christina Chandler, the mother of Beaufort Elementary students, says her kids were being bullied on the bus. So, she took action and started a petition, which 29 people have signed so far. Bush says the board then reacted and formed a transportation committee to look at the issue.

"Will it stop bullying completely? No. Children will be children but if they know that they are on camera and if parents know that they're going to be held accountable, I think it's only going to work if all those pieces come together," said Bush.

Most people might act a little differently if they think they're being recorded on camera and that's what the school board and the parents who started the petition are hoping. But how much does all this cost? Well, right now, Bush says there is no set cost but some preliminary reports say up to $75,000 for installation and almost $100,000 per year after that for the district's 180 buses. Because there are different installation options, the costs are not yet nailed down. Some of those options include phasing in the installation of the cameras, leasing the equipment, and purchasing and installing the cameras for all the buses at once. Those topics will be taken up at Tuesday's meeting as well.

Beaufort County School District buses are run by Durham School Services and they take thousands of students to and from school each weekday. The school district already has permission from the state's Department of Education.

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