The standard yellow school bus just got updated – Dallas County recently unveiled a heightened security school bus. While it looks the same superficially, features such as security cameras, thumbprint scanners and GPS trackers have been added. These measures are an attempt to keep children safe on the way to and from school.
The stop sign that extends when kids are loading and unloading is now equipped with a license plate camera to catch those not obeying the sign. Ignoring the stop sign puts children in potential danger of getting hit by a car. To prevent other accidents, security cameras are also placed low on the front and back of the buses. This will minimize blind spots and help drivers catch small children that may be out of naked eye’s view.
For added security, a thumb scanner greets the students upon entering. Students authorized to ride the bus will be in the system already. The scanner will alert the driver if the student’s thumbprint does not match any in the system. Once inside, more cameras cover the span of the bus. A code of conduct is dispersed to students so that they know what kind of behavior is expected and what will not be tolerated. The driver makes sure that students are buckled safely before departing.
The bus also has a communication system set up so that, in case of emergencies, the bus can contact headquarters and vice versa. The GPS tracker is also a helpful bonus so that headquarters can keep track of where the students are located. When situations are dire, this system may help to provide speedier response time and better care since they have access to surveillance feeds and can see what is happening in real time.
In regards to funding, as these additions seem costly, the county is footing the bill. They assure everyone that the school district need not supply additional funds. This helps the district focus their funds and efforts elsewhere, such as bettering the quality of education.
Concerns may arise on how successful these security tactics will be. How necessary is the thumbprint scanner? Will the stop sign cameras really deter drivers from running them? Could the county funds be put to better use? Only time will tell.
Privacy may also be an issue with the heavy use of security cameras inside and outside of the bus. If the interior security cameras will prevent misbehavior or bullying, they are worth a shot. However, the outdoor cameras, depending on what is caught on camera can potentially be troublesome.
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