Boyertown district installing cameras, GPS devices on buses

BOYERTOWN, Pa. - There will be extra eyes on students in the Boyertown Area School District when the new school year starts. Cameras and GPS devices are being installed on school buses and vans.

"The whole premise is being more safety conscious, more efficient and effective," said Dana Bedden, the district's superintendent.

The district, which includes several municipalities in eastern Berks and western Montgomery counties, tested cameras at the end of the last school year, and it has the rest of the summer to install systems.

"This is on everything, so it's going to be crash course for myself and my assistant to get it up and running," said Steven Missimer, the district's transportation supervisor.

Bedden said safety measures have been increased in schools, and this effort is an extension of that.

The cameras will capture video and audio and cover all angles and entrances.

"We've had some inappropriate behavior from adults that'll help us address that," said Bedden.

The new camera systems are also expected to save time. Years ago, it could take hours or even days to flip video. Not anymore.

"We take the camera card out, replace it with a second one, take it into our reader and send it right to the principal, and it's minutes," Missimer said.

The program makes it easy to isolate a time frame and blur kids' faces if any video needs to be shared. It comes with GPS, allowing the district to track buses and vans in real time.

"I hope people would see that we are doing what we can to move forward with the 21st century," said Bedden.

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