The state Department of Education wants to improve the safety of kids on public school buses, so it’s moving forward with a plan to install video cameras inside buses statewide.
“They don’t always do what they’re supposed to do. They have their rules to follow while riding the buses,” said Penny Okura, operations manager with Akita Enterprises on the Big Island.
The state already installed them on Hawaii Island, and is doing the same to some buses on Oahu. Buses on Molokai will be next, followed by Kauai and Maui in two years.
“We’ve had incidents that didn’t have cameras that kids had pulled out knives, kids had actually threw backpacks, broken windows, you know, and then they deny it,” Okura said.
The DOE says the main reason for the cameras is to improve the health and safety of students by recording everything that happens on the bus. Video that is recorded will be saved for 10 school days.
Officials say installing cameras is part of a national trend to improve student safety.
“I think it will be a wonderful idea. Anything to help our children, because our children need to be protected at all times,” said grandparent Elaine Siu.
The video cameras in school buses will be able to catch inappropriate behavior of students and drivers.
“It’s a good idea,” said parent Neil Sookla. “Safety for the kids. You know a lot of people texting and all that.”
“Every two to three minutes our drivers should be checking mirrors, the outside mirrors as well as the rear-view mirror and checking on the students,” Okura said.
Not every bus will have a camera. It will depend if there’s money in the state’s budget.