Buses need security, too

School buses are often a likely place for assaults, bullying, and vandalism to occur. Here are some recent stories ripped from the headlines:

In a Chicago suburb, a 3-year-old, hearing-impaired girl was allegedly assaulted on a school bus on her way home. The 71-year-old driver said he was unaware that anything improper occurred. Fortunately, police were able to review recorded video from cameras placed on several district buses over the summer. That video led police to arrest a 12-year-old boy also on the bus at the time of the alleged assault. A local police officer said this was the first time the cameras had been used in a police investigation.

The Cumberland County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office was looking for suspects involved in vandalizing two buses assigned to an alternative school. The suspects damaged seats and safety equipment before also damaging a security camera on one of the buses. Fortunately, one of the suspects first looked directly into one of the cameras, providing a sharp image of his face. That picture was shared with local media. Two days later, deputies made an arrest.

A district in central Washington State put cameras into some of its buses two years ago. Since then the cameras have stopped more than a dozen fights and caught six students vandalizing buses. In addition, the cameras have caught bullies in the act. “When parents say, ‘My child would never do this,’ we can show them the tape,” said a district driver. This year the district installed cameras on 10 more buses.

PatrickFielPatrick V. Fiel Sr. is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.

Follow Patrick Fiel on Twitter.

Laura Ascione

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