The Pointe Coupee Parish School District is poised to spend approximately $22,000 on the installation of cameras on each of the district’s owner-operated school buses.
School Superintendent Linda D’Amico said the cameras will give the district an extra tool to monitor and curb any disciplinary problems that should arise in the future.
The cameras will help easily identify conflicts between students, ease the stress on bus drivers through more visual supervision and decrease behavior problems, said Donald Fuselier, director of support services.
In his proposal to the superintendent, Fuselier said that for the past two years some of the school district’s bus drivers and principals have found the cameras beneficial on the buses operated by First Student.
First Student Inc. is a company that provides school bus transportation services to school districts across the country.
Approximately half of the school district’s bus fleet is contracted with First Student, D’Amico said.
D’Amico said 22 buses are owner operated in the parish.
“We wanted our owner-operated buses to have the same advantages,” she said. “The cameras will be the property of the school district. We’ll install them. If one of the bus drivers leave they will have to return the cameras to us.”
D’Amico said a surveillance camera will be outfitted in the front and rear of each owner-operated school bus.
The superintendent couldn’t give a definitive timeline on when the cameras would be installed because the district hadn’t purchased them yet.
But she added that the cameras likely would be in place during the first semester of the current school term.
The cameras will be able to store up to 320 hours of video and audio footage, according to Fuselier.
Fuselier said the cameras’ footage will be stored on a downloadable digital video recorder. The cameras’ software has the capability to blur students’ faces and create privacy zones if necessary, he said.
The school board unanimously approved the purchase of the cameras from Seon Mobile Surveillance during its regular meeting on Aug. 23.
The $22,000 will be allocated from the district’s capital outlay budget, D’Amico said.
The school board’s decision comes two months after a lawsuit was filed against the school district alleging that a 7-year-old at Rosenwald Elementary School was physically and sexually assaulted during his bus ride home from school back in March.
The pending suit claims the boy was sexually assaulted by an 11-year-old student in front of other students that were also riding the bus that day.
D’Amico said she would not relate the March 21 incident to the purchase of the bus cameras.
“We thought about installing cameras a long time before that happened,” she said.
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