Nys Senate Passes Legislation Makign School Buses Safer

Martin J. Golden

May 22, 2008

Bill Would Require Video Monitoring Systems on Buses

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.4157-D) that
would protect the safety and security of children who ride school buses.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), would require
placement of video monitoring systems on school buses in the City of New

In 2006 55,000 school buses transported 2.3 million children daily in
New York State, over 2 million miles.

“School buses carry the world’s most precious cargo, and we need to
ensure that they provide a safe and secure environment for our kids,” said
Senator Golden, Chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Critical
Choices. “New Yorkers place more than 2 million children on the school bus
each morning, and we want every one of these kids to arrive safely at their
destination. It’s clear that our school transportation system needs to be
reformed so we can keep our children safe and secure when they ride the

To help combat instances of sexual abuse and violence committed
against children on school buses, this bill would require every new school
bus purchased on or after September 1, 2010 to be equipped with a system
capable of providing audio and video surveillance to record events and
behavior aboard school buses. All buses currently in service would be
required to be equipped by September 1, 2013. Students and bus drivers will
be notified periodically that they are subject to be recorded at any time.

Video records will be stored in a secure location for at least 90
days, unless there is report of an incident, in which case the records will
be kept for a period determined by the Education Commissioner. The records
will be reviewed only by designated personnel when an incident is reported,
and on a regular basis using random selection. Records will remain
confidential and will only be used for the purpose of disciplinary and
enforcement proceedings.

A demonstration project will begin on September 1, 2008, concluding
after one year, involving five percent of the City’s school buses to test
the system.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.