Boston Equips All School Buses With Audio and Video Surveillance

The new technology is intended to provide better data for investigations into behavioral incidents and traffic accidents involving city school buses.
Published: August 8, 2014

The Boston Public Schools (BPS) made a large investment in technology this summer, but you won’t see the results of that investment in the classroom. BPS is equipping its fleet of school buses with cameras and microphones to better investigate incidents of bullying, behavioral issues and traffic accidents. Boston is one of the last school districts in the country to take this step, but it’s not without controversy.

Many BPS parents and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been outspoken about their disapproval, expressing concern over the decision to monitor school buses. The ACLU even likened the move to “creating a culture of fear akin to being in prison.”

Carl Allen, the School Department’s Transportation director says there was no particular incident that prompted this decision. In a statement to the Boston Globe, Allen said, “It’s just a recognition that there are incidents and accidents that occur every year. And we have a strong desire to have more data so we can quickly respond and ensure the safety of our kids and employees.”

According to the Globe, bus drivers wrote up 5,600 incident reports last school year that documented behavior such as swearing, refusing to sit down, throwing items out of the bus windows, vandalizing property and bothering others.

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