Concerns over CMS' plan to track and videotape buses

Due to fights inside school buses, new cameras have been installed and a GPS tracking app should help bring down the fights. But is it too far?

CHARLOTTE, N.C - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials announced that for the first time, every school bus will be equipped with an interior camera.

They also revealed plans to roll out an app in the next couple of months that would allow people to track school buses and all 126,000 CMS students on them.

CMS leaders say the new technology will be beneficial to students, parents and the district. But some parents are worried the constant surveillance might be too much.

“Many of the instances that came to light last year we would've never known about. The driver had no idea, had the child not been recording it,” CMS Transportation Director Janet Thomas explained Wednesday when asked about the interior bus cameras and whether they will address fights on buses.

“That's another reason for the cameras, is that we are not dependent on video from students who took it, we'll have that camera video that we can pull and verify the allegation on the spot.”

Not only will the drivers and students be under constant video surveillance, but starting in October, their GPS location can also be tracked from a cell phone.

“That's been an ask from the community,” Thomas said, “so we piloted a program last May with good results, but we want them great.”

Some parents aren’t so sure the tracking feature is a good idea.

“The public being able to have access to that I'd be really concerned about that,” said Chuck Taylor, who has a daughter in CMS.

“Being able to track the whereabouts of your kids and anybody can end up doing that, especially if they end up knowing your area where you're at. And you have a young daughter like I do, I'd be really concerned about that.”

CMS officials have not released details about the app, or what security measures it will feature.

“So we’ll continue to work at some of the kinks,” Thomas told media Wednesday.

Similar school bus tracking apps available now in the iTunes store require only a school code to create an account.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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