South Bend school board unanimously approves bus camera purchase

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend Community School Corporation is continuing to make student safety a top priority.

“Honestly, I almost shed a tear,” Director of Transportation Juan Martinez-Legus said. “This is a huge deal for us. This is a huge deal for our transportation department moving forward.”

It is the dawn of a new era in South Bend school bus safety. Monday night, members of the school board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a bus camera system.

Plans had already been in the works, but after the Fulton County tragedy in October, South Bend schools knew they had to improve bus cameras.

“The South Bend Community Schools, we stand by student safety,” Martinez-Legus said. “We're going to make sure our babies are safe. So, in honor of them, we move forward. We are going to do everything we can to protect our kids.”

The cost is estimated to be $456,504.00. With that money, 192 systems will be ordered.

Each bus will be equipped with two exterior side arm cameras and three 360-degree cameras around the bus. These cameras will be make sure that any time a car passes a school bus, the license plate will be recorded.

“If you pass a South Bend school bus, we will make sure there is an officer there to issue a citation, and people will get used to that,” Martinez-Legus said.

All buses will have the cameras by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

At one point, South bend schools saw 402 stop arm violations in a single day. With these new cameras, that number will decrease.

“We’re going to bring that number down,” Martinez-Legus said. “That's the message that's going to be clear. Safety is important of our babies. If you pass a South Bend bus, you will receive a citation."

The director of transportation said he will begin purchasing those bus cameras right away.