(Clarifies working status of cameras in last graph)
Cheatham County parents will soon be able to see incident videos and photos from inside school buses, provided that all cameras are repaired, after a new state law was enacted July 1.
Under a state law that began July 1, school boards are required to have a policy allowing parents to watch school bus footage if bullying, physical harm, harassment or intimidation are reported.
If the policy is approved on second reading in September, the procedure will be put in place.
“Video cameras may be used to monitor student behavior on school vehicles transporting students to and from school or extracurricular activities,” according to the proposed district policy.
Parents or guardians will be able to submit requests to Director of Schools Cathy Beck to view the photos or videos. Beck or someone she selects will be present when a parent is shown the footage.
All footage in Cheatham County will be stored for four days before it is erased, according to the policy.
While the district has cameras on buses already, not all of them are operational, Beck said in the work session.
Board chairman John Louallen said he felt it was important to make sure all the cameras worked, even if it meant going back to the county commission to change the schools’ budget.
“If my kid was still in school, especially middle school or elementary, and something happened on the bus and I went to see the camera and we don’t have a camera, I’m not going to be happy,” Louallen said. “To me, that’s a safety issue.”
The company that provides the cameras planned to be in Cheatham County on Monday and Tuesday to assess all the cameras, district spokesperson Tim Adkins said.
"Once we have the assessment, it will be a work in progress to get any cameras that are not working repaired or replaced," Adkins said.