TLS Proposes To Require All District-Contracted Bus Companies To Install Video Surveillane On All School Buses

school bus 3 tlsBy Chaim Yonatan. Last week, it was reported by TLS, and various other news organizations, that four Yeshiva Bachurim were accused of harassing a bus driver. It was also reported, that the parents of these boys plan on taking legal action against the bus company because the driver wouldn’t drop the students off at their stops, among other accusations. 
On the one hand there were a few Bachurim who were probably at least a little disrespectful to the driver and maybe even did what they were accused of. On the other hand there is a bus driver who felt threatened by the boys. She reportedly has a history of complaints filed against her for antagonizing kids over the last few years.     
For anyone to suggest that he knows for sure that either party is in the right is definitely jumping the gun. But what really happened?
They were four against one. But she had the wheel. It was dark. But she had the radio. They were a unit of teenage boys. But she had the tools to stop. Who is guilty? Who is innocent?  The full story is known by five people. The bus driver and the four Bachurim who were arrested.
Lakewood is in an uproar. Speak about Chillul Hashem. Or speak about sending innocent children into the hands of an unknown stranger for up to 45 minutes twice a day. The sensation this incident caused is understandable, and so is the Board of Education’s reaction.
Approximately one month ago, TLS proposed to a few BOE members- including Board Members Chesky Seitler and Yoni Silver – the idea of requiring all school buses contracted with the district to have video surveillance cameras installed on all their buses, and drivers and students would be made aware of this.

The surveillance would exonerate drivers and students in most incidents, including, protecting students from bus drivers, bus drivers from students, as well as students from one another.

This proposal was in response to multiple disturbing incidents that had allegedly taken place on buses, many of which were reported to TLS – and brought to the attention of authorities.

The response from the BOE members was very positive and welcoming, and they decided to put it on their next meeting’s agenda. 
At their meeting this past Monday night, the Board of Education unanimously approved the measure motioned by BOE member Yoni Silver, which instructed the administration to meet with the transportation department. The bus companies were also notified that they will have to meet with the Board attorney within the next 21 days in order to discuss how they plan to implement the Board’s recommendation of having cameras on all busses. 
This measure will undoubtedly be in the best interest of the school children and their devoted drivers.  The presence of the cameras would ensure safe conduct on both ends enabling parents to breath a sigh of relief and put their trust back into the transportation department. In addition, should a bus driver feel at any time threatened or taken advantage of, this could easily be verified and the necessary actions would be initiated.
“This idea was a no brainer”, BOE member Chesky Seitler said of the idea. “With our most precious commodity on these busses every day, it is of paramount importance to be able to know exactly what is going on”, he said.

TLS brought up the idea to Police Chief Rob Lawson as well, for his take on it from a Law Enforcement standpoint.

“It’s a great idea and would eliminate any controversy about what really transpires when there are incidents on school buses, much like what police car video cameras do concerning officer interactions with citizens”, Police Chief Rob Lawson said. 
What actually took place in past incidents, is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure. Action is being taken to ensure such incidents do not occur again in the future.

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  1. Did none of the boys have a cellphone, to take out and video tape the driver harassing them?

    -or is it because it was the other way around?

  2. I’m all about trying to protect our children but here are some questions as a parent of school aged children that I can come up with very quickly about the thought of cameras being installed on a school bus:

    1. Is this legal for a bus company to record minors?
    2. Do the parents have to sign consent forms allowing their to children to be recorded?
    3. What happens if a parent doesn’t give permission for their child or children to be recorded?
    4. Who will have access to these recordings?
    5. Will they be secured after hours so they will not fall into the wrong hands and end up on the internet or some other unwelcomed place?
    6. How long will they be saved and where will they be kept so we know they are secured?
    7. How do I know that the bus company wont attempt to destroy the recording to protect their staff and reputation if something does happen and I as a parent or my attorney request the recording for review?
    8. What will the violation, punishment, etc.. be for tampering with the recordings if such a thing should happen?
    9. How does the recording process start and how does it stop?

    I think the last question is an important one, no parent is gonna want to hear “I’m sorry, but the driver forgot to press record when he left the yard this morning” there needs to be some type of recording process indentified to prevent any problems.
    If there are any other concerned parents out there that have any questions nows the time to start thinking and asking before you accidentally see your child or children on the big screen.

  3. I think they need cameras so it can be used to show how these kids are standing on buses, in the back and in the front. I can’t even count how many buses have kids standing and it is almost always the boys. Besides it being a danger to all on the bus, it shows their parents didn’t teach them respect or how to follow laws. I would have never dared to stand on a bus while it’s moving and my daughter knows better too.

  4. to #2 do your minor children go to weddings and bar mitzvas where videos are taken? do you have to sign papers with the videographer ?? go get a life

  5. Actually, if you want to really video what is going on while kids are on the bus, you will probably have to set the cameras up on the OUTSIDE of the bus since it seems to me that most of the kids are hanging out the windows and waving their hands outside.

  6. How much more $$$$ is this idea of purchasing, installing, and ongoing maintenance of the new equipment on the several hundred (if not way more) buses going to cost us as taxpayers??

    If this new requirement were to be implemented the bid amounts will undoubtedly cost us more as the bus companies will have to cover the new operating expenses.

    On the other hand, if safety is indeed paramount to cost – then why isn’t TLS also officially proposing that we NOT layoff our police officers come next month. After all, the way it’s looking is that we will be getting minimal coverage of basically less than 2 cops for every 1000 people..

    Which is scarier??

  7. I am only writing because I kind of got the impression from some of the posts on this topic that it is only the yeshiva kids who are the ones who make trouble on the buses.

    ALL children act up on school buses. Yes, there are kids from yeshivas who misbehave on the bus, but so do public school children. I have seen a great deal of fighting (kicking and punching), hanging out of the window, middle fingers at passing cars and bystanders, cursing out the window and more going around on public school buses in front of me. ALL Kids are kids, both yeshivas and public school, and without supervision, what do you expect?

  8. Pretty neat idea. These days im thinking we should have cameras on every street corner. I have learned on The Lakewood Scoop that every day there are shootings, accidents, people driving wildly, and various forms of chillul’s taking place. Non withstanding I love Lakewood to the core.

  9. First it is up to ALL parents to teach their children about bus safety.

    Are cameras cheapers than monitors? The dept of trans. and the BOE better have numbers on this, because personally I would rather another adult on the bus than a video camera. The bus driver can not and should not be disciplining children while driving. We owe our bus drivers more hakaros hatov than we show them. It is not easy driving a big bus full of anxious kids ready to get home already.

    I would also like to bring up the fact that if there is a sub one day, they should review the route BEFORE driving it, NOT while driving it! How many times have you seen drivers distracted because they are reading their map or whatever.

  10. Yep. A good idea indeed. let’s get the cameras rolling. Here is a suggestion for the good people of Lakewood. With all the crime going on….perhaps invest in some sort of surveillant for your own homes and businesses.

    Recently I saw a fake camera system being sold for 6 or 7 bucks. Basically, it looks exactly like one of those cams you see on the outside of a bank. However its just plastic with nothing inside. There is however no way to know the truth because it looks exactly like the real thing.

  11. DD to answer your comment, yes my kids go to weddings and bar mitzvas where videos are taken. I don’t mind it at all either because this is an event for my family or friends and I don’t mind my children being photographed or placed on video because it’s a memorable thing for my family and friends to reflect back on. installing videos on public transportation that my children will be placed onto is a totally different thing it will not be kept with family members or friends.
    you know what why the BOE is trying to protect our children how about they step it up a notch and install barbwire fences around our schools, put a sniper in a tower, and have dogs walking around the perimeter to protect them from everything else.
    Get a life, I have a life and family members that I care about and want to protect from harm.

  12. Right!!!!!!!!!!! Just what this town needs is to add the cost uf survailance
    cameras to buses jacking up bussing costs more instead of sitting down with your kids and teaching respect and manners.
    Foolishness is in the heart of the child and the child will grow up to be a bad citizen if he/she is not trained up responsibly

  13. this is a good idea to put these silly stories to bed about whos at fault this is also a good idea for the reason if the drive get into a crash and it could record if he/she was drunk or impaired in anyway or if one of the GOOD KIDS did something to cause the drive to lose control of the bus or if the drive attacks kids

  14. This is way to funny who are you fooling by trying to make the BOE members look good in our eyes they never keep anything quite so I doubt 3 weeks ago they had this idea.

  15. It is so sad that you are all forgetting the goal here. The cameras are for protection for the children! There should be cameras on every bus: public school or private school. Do you remember when there used to be children left on the bus because they would fall asleep on the bus and the driver wouldnt check .. because well why would he need to? So they created an alarm in the back of the bus so the driver would need to check all the seats. These are created to protect your children. If you dont agree.. then take your kids to school yourself

  16. The cameras will cost about $675 per bus. Once installed we should have a policy that any child who acts up and creates a safety problem will be banned from riding the bus. Let their parents get them to school. The parents are the ones who failed to raise the child properly. This should put an end to the rowdy behavior.

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