The Howard County Public School System plans to outfit 211 school buses this year with new digital camera systems and ultimately to have the cameras installed on all 439 buses within the next few years.
Four cameras will be installed on each bus, two in the front, one in the middle of the bus and one in the back. One of the front cameras will face the boarding steps.
Approximately 100 buses have the new cameras equipped already.
"It's really a tool to assist school administrators and folks within our office as well to investigate complaints we may have received on the buses," said David Ramsay, director of transportation for HCPSS, in a video. "We want our bus drivers to concentrate on driving, but we recognize periodically there will be inappropriate behavior."
Ramsay described inappropriate behavior as students moving around out of their seats on the bus, minor bickering and fights.
The camera systems cost approximately $1,450 per bus, according to the school system. Videos are recorded directly to a hard drive, which will only be reviewed if there's an incident, according to school officials.
The old camera systems on the buses used tapes, said Ramsay.
"The cameras give school personnel a way to investigate and address bulling or otherwise disruptive activities that happen on the school bus," said HCPSS Superintendent Renee A. Foose, in a statement. "These cameras will help ensure that students get to school safely—both physically and emotionally—while riding a school bus."