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Okaloosa County bus cameras
CRESTVIEW - An Okaloosa County mother told the school board you can't put a price on safety. Her plea is leading to a big change. Right now about 35 percent of Okaloosa County school buses have cameras. This week, the school board voted to put them on every bus.
Laura Hussey "Right now, only 80 buses in the Okaloosa County fleet are equipped with cameras. Here's how they work, there's one in the front of the bus, another right here over the driver's seat, and a third in the back of the bus. They're all three being recorded at once. Here at the Transportation Department they say they wanted cameras on every bus for a long time, but each one costs 2000 dollars."
Cameras on her daughter's bus might have spared Tina Bannon a two-year battle. She says the child was injured twice on the bus; the district says the driver has no knowledge of it.
Bannon says, "My daughter is little, she is eight years old. And she can't fight these battles, so I don't have a choice, I have to fight for her"
A camera was eventually placed on that bus. By then, Bannon says she was hearing about lots of incidents from other parents. That's why she went to the school board.
Bannon says, "There have been so many accounts, and honestly, cameras will help everybody"
Bannon says cameras would resolve conflicting stories between students and drivers.
Alexandra Sneeder says cameras would help drivers keep their attention on the road, instead of on discipline problems.
Sneeder says, "'Cause there have been incidents where the bus drivers have been attacked, injured or.....So I think the more safety, the more precautions you have, the better"
The school board approved buying the cameras, but they'll have to work to put together the funding. Tina Bannon says she'll help with community fundraising efforts.
Tina "I feel very respected. That they did take it seriously. And they are as concerned about our children's welfare as I am"
Laura Hussey "Members of the transportation department are meeting with camera companies next week to get a solid proposal on prices for the school board."