The Lauderdale County School District is planning to install camera systems inside more of its buses.
The district recently purchased 75 cameras systems, each featuring a front camera, a middle camera and a back camera. Tim Moore, the district's transportation director, said some buses are already outfitted with cameras.
Adding the new system means the entire fleet of 96 buses will have cameras. The district will provide camera training for bus drivers and school administrators, he said.
Mike Jonas, who's been a bus driver for 40 years, said the cameras will make his job easier.
“I feel like it enhances safety,” said Jonas, who's been a bus driver with the Lauderdale County School District for 32 years.
Jonas said that if students know someone is watching them, they will be less likely to misbehave on the bus.
Too, the cameras will help school staff better deal with discipline, because they'll have a clearer picture if an incident arises, he said.
“It will give administrators a better understanding,” Jonas said.
Marie Velez, a junior at Southeast Lauderdale High School, said she understands why some students might not want cameras on their buses, but feels that the cameras will make the buses safer.
"I understand it can be a privacy issue," she said. "But even in our school, we see the importance of cameras."
Southeast sophomore Tanner Hagwood said he'd like to see cameras on the exteriors of the buses, so drivers could see students getting on and off.
"I think having cameras on the outside would almost be more mandatory than on the inside," Hagwood said.
Sophomore Danny McVay, agreed, saying that exterior cameras could catch drivers who disrespect bus laws. Like Jonas, he said the interior cameras will offer a clear account if an incident occurs on the bus.
"You can't just believe what you hear, you have to see it," he said.