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High Tech School Buses Keeping Kids Safe

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- School officials in New York are taking extra steps to make sure students and bus drivers are safe as they travel to and from school. Cameras have been placed on buses to help curb fighting, bullying or any other type of problems.

Officials hope the new technology will make kids think twice about what they do on board because it will captured on camera. The Port Byron School District has four cameras on each school bus. Every camera not only has video but captures the sound as well. The new technology has caused a drop in discipline reports.

"It's great when the kids point to the camera, when a child is about to misbehave and points to the camera like, why would you do that, you know?" said Neil O'Brien, Port Byron NY Schools Superintendent. "That's what the cameras, really, cameras the best thing about cameras is when it's preventative."

Administrators randomly pull video from select buses review the video at any time. The school district also regularly watches video of bus runs picked at random. If any problems are noticed, they can address it with the student before the situation gets out of hand.

"If we see a child's behavior on there that is somewhat bothersome, but hasn't elevated to the point the bus driver is complaining about it we can be proactive and say we were watching a bus run today and we saw you jump up four or five times; you can't do that on a bus," O'Brien said.

The buses also have a sophisticated tracking system with live GPS that allows the district to follow everything from the speed of the buses to their location.

"With our routing software I can pull up the bus, export a spreadsheet to our school messenger system and we can notify all those parents on that affected run by phone that the bus is going to be late," said Corey Rooker, Port Byron, NY Transportation Supervisor.

Administrators hope the new technology will ensure that busing in the district runs smoothly and safely as possibly. About 90 percent of the cost of the technology systems was paid for by the State of New York.

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