Buckley looks to boost school bus safety

Buckley Community Schools is looking into buying video cameras for their school buses.

Rick Heitmeyer the Superintendent of Buckley Community Schools said the district is looking into purchasing 10 video cameras, that would cost about $7,000, for their five school buses.

"Ultimately I think a $7,000 investment toward the safety of kids is probably a good decision to make," said Heitmeyer.

Each bus would have two cameras, one at the front of the bus and one in the back. The cameras would also capture audio.

Heitmeyer said the video security system that Buckley has in their schools has been helpful in the past and he wants that to carry over to the buses.

"I don't even want to suggest we have a problem because we don't have a problem we're trying to be proactive," said Heitmeyer.

He said the concern is not just for the safety of children but the bus drivers as well.

A video camera would catch any problems that a bus driver may not see and Heitmeyer said when issues arise it would also eliminate discrepancies between students' accounts of what happened.

"In a class we like to have 20 kids with one teacher, on a bus it might be 50 it might be 60," said Heitmeyer.

Carol Corey a Buckley bus driver said cameras are a good idea but she's not sure the two camera system is necessary.

"I don't know if we've got the kind of thing going on up here that warrants cameras in every direction but I think it can be a good thing," said Corey.

Other bus drivers said they don't think the cameras are a good investment and the money should stay in the classrooms.

Kingsley Area Schools, Traverse City Area Public Schools, Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools, and Suttons Bay Schools (BATA bus system) have video cameras on their school buses.

Kingsley Superintendent Dr. Keith Smith said they bought three cameras this summer for 12 of their school buses and they will decide at the end of the year if it's worth buying more.

"If you've got a video of exactly what occurred I think it's better for employees and kids to see exactly what happened," said Smith.

Heitmeyer said the Buckley School Board will revisit the issue in October until they can get an estimate from another business for the cameras.