Monitoring Student's Locations via the School Bus
There seems to always be talk about the actual securing of school buildings and other on-ground facilities, like the gym or band hall, or even the addition of video surveillance in strategic locations, but what about protecting students and staff while on the bus ride to and from school? While the obvious option may seem to be the installation of video surveillance on the bus, in which school administration and the local police have direct access to the video feeds, some schools are putting the responsibility of security on the students.
In Volusia County schools, Florida, students must take action to enter their bus. Elementary students are responsible for using ID cards while middle school and high school students have to remember data to input into a credit card-like machine, mounted on the dashboard to the right of the driver.
As students swipe or punch in their ID, a green light will appear if the student is trying to get onto the correct bus, a red light if trying to load the incorrect bus. The system tracks if and when students enter/exit the bus, enabling staff to tell parents who call the school looking for their child after school hours whether the child rode the bus and where he or she exited. It also helps bus drivers track the number of students who ride the bus during the state-designated count weeks. This empowers bus drivers to stay focused on the road, rather than on accurately counting the number of passengers. (This number determines the amount of money the district will receive for transportation.)
Some of the teenaged students at Volusia County schools complain that this type of bus loading system is a waste of time or they feel like their parents don’t trust them; however, safety and security of students and bus drivers was obviously a concern to this school district as it cost $280,000 to install this system.