PINE-RICHLAND (KDKA) — Pine-Richland is the latest school district to announce it will begin recording audio on school buses.
While recording audio of someone without permission is illegal in Pennsylvania, the state passed a law 2014 that allows audio to be recorded on buses.
Since then, more and more districts have begun doing just that.
ABC Transit Inc. in Harmar says all the districts it deals with want audio recorded now.
ABC Transit Vice-President Todd O’Shell says it provides much more information than just video alone.
“It helps absolve our drivers of complaints when we get them,” said O’Shell. “It allows truth to be told because the camera along with audio from the camera doesn’t lie.”
ABC Transit has a pretty sophisticated recording system on each of its buses.
Three interior cameras and microphones record on the bus: one at the front of the bus, one at the driver’s side and one in the rear.
“And then we have a forward facing camera that shoots out the window and captures a wide angle view from the front of the bus,” said O’Shell as he pointed to a fourth camera pointing through the windshield.
Parents and teachers we spoke with think adding the audio is valuable.
“It should be on the bus to keep kids safe. If something happens, there’s actually evidence of something happening,” said Angela Roselle, a teacher visiting from Florida.
Carley Baker, a mother of two, said: “Everybody needs to know exactly what’s going on. Otherwise it’s a ‘he said, she said’ kind of thing. So if you’re not hearing what’s going on, you’re not knowing what actually happened.”
Pittsburgh, McKeesport, Yough, Seneca Valley, Fox Chapel, Riverview, Shaler, Peters and Plum are among the districts recording audio in addition to Pine-Richland.
The audio recordings are not without objection, however, back when the law was passed, a spokesperson said it diminished students’ privacy.