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All Bedford School Buses Now Have Cameras

Switch of fleet coincides with installation, meant as disciplinary tactic.

In an effort to bring in a new disciplinary tool for kids misbehaving, the Bedford Central School District now has cameras installed on all of its buses.

The changed, announced at Wednesday's school board meeting, coincides with the contracted takeover of busing operations by Towne Bus Corp., which assumed the work after it entered into a 5-year deal with the district. 

Mark Betz, the district's assistant superintendent for business, explained that the cameras will be used to better review disputes between students.

“The purpose of it really is to let the kids know that there are rules on the buses and that there - that they will be watched, that they’ll be held accountable if they’re not behaving correctly," he said. "And it also helps parents and the principals, that when an incident does happen, rather than ‘he said, she said,’ we can go to the films and say ‘come on, this is what really happened. let’s deal with the issue. Let’s improve it, let’s move on.’”

The cameras, which will stores the footages on hard drives, are not be watched live by another person, Betz said. The footage will be checked after the fact, when a dispute is reported, and will not be stored permenately. 

The deterrent effect intended is for the students to be aware of them, Betz explained.

The use of cameras is not new. Betz explained that a pilot program was employed by its previous contracted company, Chappaqua Transportation. The busing fleet in operation this year is a mix of vehicles that Towne bought from the district - the deal including outsourcing its remaining in-house operations - and new ones.

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