DuBOIS — Falls Creek parent Kristy Baughman decided to take action when youngsters at her children’s school bus stop were nearly run over by a driver who ignored the bus-mounted stop sign and flashing lights in November.
“I started talking to a bunch of other parents afterwards, and it’s not just our stop,” Baughman told the DuBois Area School Board Wednesday.
“There are people not paying attention, speeding through the stop sign,” said Baughman.
When she called the police to report the incident, with only partial facial descriptions, she was told, she said, that to prosecute, the buses would need to have road facing cameras or the cameras on the stop signs to capture the plate number of the offending driver.
“Because we didn’t have the full license plate of the driver, and a decent description of the car and driver, we couldn’t prosecute,” said Baughman.
She said she called the district’s transportation director, Randy Schmidt, who told her that the buses don’t have cameras to capture those plates. The only cameras are the ones inside the bus which observe the students.
“That’s a pretty big concern,” said Baughman.
Baughman presented a petition to the board that had more than 790 signatures from people who support the outside cameras being placed on all buses in the district. And there’s also a list of comments from parents in the area who support the cameras being placed, she said.
“I didn’t get to talk to Randy about the cameras, aside from the fact he said to me, ‘I guess it wasn’t in the budget’,” Baughman said. “I think it’s feasible, I have heard about some other districts in our area that have recently done this. And if they have bus contractors, they have signed agreements with them that the contractors will put the cameras on the bus. I don’t know what the position is from the board standpoint.”
With the petition, Baughman said it is her goal to make it known to the board that the cameras are a necessity.
“The safety of our children at the bus stop is a priority,” the petition stated. “The board needs to take the appropriate action to get these cameras on all buses in the district.”
“They (cameras) not only help law enforcement apprehend and prosecute these drivers, but it acts as a deterrent to other drivers committing the same offenses,” the petition stated. “The penalties that can be imposed will work, but law enforcement has to be able to identify and prosecute the offenders.”
Board President Patty Fish said she would make sure all of the board members get a copy of the petition.
Superintendent Luke Lansberry said the district will look into the issue. He said that since he’s been the superintendent there haven’t been any discussions about cameras being placed on the buses.