Andalusia buses getting cameras

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2003

Students in the Andalusia School System will soon have more secure buses to use in the near future.

House Speaker Seth Hammett and State Senator Jimmy Holley announced Monday the school system will receive a $5,000 grant to install security cameras on school buses.

The state grant comes from the Joint Legislative Committee on Community Service Grants.

Previously the school system had received an $8,000 grant from the federally funded Drug Free Schools program, bringing the total funding for the project to $13,000.

Hammett and Holley both said they are pleased to assist in providing a safe traveling atmosphere for Andalusia students.

"I am happy to assist Andalusia bus drivers with providing safe transportation for precious cargo," said Hammett.

"Safety can only be improved with the installation of a full-time monitoring system," added Holley.

While the addition of security cameras to buses might seem to be a negative indicator of a school system, the superintendent of the Andalusia City Board of Education said the move is being made more as a gesture of caution rather than as a solution to ongoing problems.

"The security cameras are not a reaction to any discipline problem we are having on the buses, we're just being proactive," said Andalusia City School's Superintendent Pete Kelley. "We are currently getting specifications for bids on the project and hope to have them installed by next fall."

Andalusia Elementary School Assistant Principal Ted Watson, who is also the Transportation Coordinator for the school system, said he is very pleased with the future addition of the cameras.

"I am thankful that these grants are allowing us an (extra) measure of security. We currently have radios on the buses and we will soon have the cameras," said Watson. "We are always looking for ways to monitor safety, monitor our drivers and monitor all of our safety precautions."

He echoed Kelley's sentiment that the cameras are a precautionary measure more than anything.

"Anytime you have situation where you are trying to situate 60 to 65 students in an area smaller than a classroom, you are going to have situations to arise," said Watson. "In today's society safety is essential."

Watson noted there have not been many major problems to deal with on Andalusia buses, other than the routine activities which often take place on such vehicles.

"Anytime you have buses you are going to have people getting on each other's nerves, pulling hair and things such as that," said Watson. "This is a precautionary move and without a doubt (the proactive measure involving cameras) speaks volumes about (Kelley's) foresight and supervision."