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Video Camera Surveillance Planned For St. John Parishs School Buses

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / January 23, 1998

RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board at Thursday’smeeting decided to install a video camera bus monitoring system duringthe next five years.

In a proposal made by board member Matthew Ory, the motion passed 9-2,with Gerald Keller and James Madere voting against it.

This year the board will purchase 12 stationary cameras on selectedschool buses which were chosen over a research period, and two camerasthat will be passed along between buses. Presently, some of the 52 school buses are equipped with black boxes thatgive the appearance that a camera is already there. The school board alsodecided to buy the remaining black boxes for the rest of the buses.

Ory said that the cameras will be used to monitor students’ behavior bythe bus driver as well as monitor the bus drivers’ behavior to thestudents.

Board member C.J. Watkins said it was “discriminatory” to install thecameras on some buses reported to have badly-behaved students.”My goal is to install a camera on every bus,” Ory said. “I would like tohave them on every bus, but I don’t think that today is the day to spend$60,000 or $70,000.”

Other board members agreed, so Watkins suggested they devise a plan topurchase some of the cameras now and the rest later, which will cost theschool board an estimated $15,000 each year, until each bus is equipped.

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