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While technology has changed, many issues on the


bus have not. Doug Dyment, president and CEO of Gatekeeper, said camera systems help solve many of the same problems now as when he first started installing bus cameras in 1992: “Trying to get the driver to focus on the road rather than the chaos behind them,” he noted. For example, the company saved Clovis Unified School


District in California an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 on seat repair costs by catching bus vandals. At the end of the day, good camera systems and


consistent review can help a district figure out its own biggest safety issues, on and off the road. “The issues that it can address are those things that the


driver can’t because he can’t see into each one of those safety compartments. They can’t fix everything, but they can certainly help extend the driver’s view,” Conte said. “The picture is worth 1,000 words.” Take, for example, another recent case at Fulton Coun- ty School District in Atlanta. On March 3, a 14-year-old student with pecial needs sued the district, after she was sexually assaulted by two other students on a bus.


The lawsuit describes the student as having “a sweet and innocent young child-like nature due to her cogni- tive and communicative deficiencies, [who] struggles to interact with and clearly communicate with other indi- viduals and to express her feelings and protect herself in potentially dangerous interactions with other people.” The girl rode a four-row special needs bus equipped


with a wide view safety mirror, electronic safety monitors, and video and audio recorders. Although it seemed that all the right tools were there, the lawsuit claims, “numerous explicit acts of sexual assault and rape perpetrated against [the girl] by other students on the bus on multiple days were recorded by the bus’ surveillance equipment.” The school district declined to comment due to pend-


ing litigation and without speaking to the district directly it is impossible to know what went wrong—whether the high-back bus seats were too high for the cameras to cap- ture footage, whether the district lacked a good content management system to allow it to hone in on specific incidents, or whether the cameras were even operational. Nevertheless, cases like this stand as a reminder of what is at stake and why video can be a valuable tool. ●


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46 School Transportation News • MAY 2020 Trans Air_0420_AD_PRINT AD.indd 1


3/17/20 10:06 AM


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