There was a lot of publicity about the “pedophile cam” attached to each of Dallas County Schools’ 2,000-plus buses recently, when DCS unveiled its new “safety for every student” campaign, which involves installing a series of video cameras on each bus that can be monitored live from a central office.
The “pedophile cam” is installed on the rear of each bus to keep an eye on who is trailing the vehicle — studies have shown that pedophiles carefully monitor a target’s daily route. But that’s only one of a series of cameras installed inside and outside of each bus.
What the cameras mean for those who don’t have children is that if you don’t stop each time a bus has extended its “stop” sign, you’ll face a $300-plus fine for violating the law.
A series of side-mounted bus cameras automatically snap HD video of each passing car — similar to the infamous red light cameras installed at intersections — and can instantly flash the name and address of the vehicle’s owner to DCS police, who can then review the violation and drop a summer of the violation and demand for money in the mail. With the vehicle captured on HD video, good luck begging off the fine.
The violation monitoring serves two purposes: The $9,000 cost to outfit each school bus with cameras is partially defrayed with collected fines, and the safety of students in and around buses is enhanced, according to DCS assistant superintendent Susan Falvo. DCS also is marketing the program to other cities and ISDs in Texas, with Sam Marcos CISD and Judson ISD already signed on and pilot programs underway in school districts in Birdville, Cleburne, Carroll, Colleyville, Comal, Eanes, East Central, Garland, Grapevine, Lake Travis, Leander, New Braunfels, North East, Round Rock and Socorro.
The school districts outside of Dallas can opt to set up their own monitoring room or contract with DCS to monitor the bus activity.