The Rock Hill school district offers several good reasons to install cameras on its buses. We hope, however, that the need justifies the cost.
The district has set aside $750,000 for security cameras on 30 to 50 buses this school year. But the money won't be spent until other priorities are taken care of.
The cameras would serve much the same purpose video cameras do in police cars, to record what occurs for later review. The cameras in school buses would be aimed both at the steps at the entrance to the bus and back down the aisle, where students sit.
The cameras would record disciplinary action taken by bus drivers, altercations between students, confrontations between drivers and parents or other adults, accidents and other unusual events that might occur on the ride to and from school. Preserving a record of what occurs can provide legal protection for both students and drivers in situations where what happened is disputed.
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The cameras also can be a useful tool for the district both in reviewing the performance of its drivers and in seeing what they go through each day.
Mounting cameras on buses apparently is a trend in the state. The York school district, for example, first installed cameras on its buses in 2004.
But $750,000 is a lot of money. We hope district officials have talked with their counterparts in other districts about the value of cameras on buses and whether the investment has proved to be worthwhile.
That said, the cameras would provide an accurate record of events on the bus and also should be useful in keeping kids in line.