HCISD responds to exterior bus cameras

By Samantha Smith

A growing safety trend in Austin and San Marcos is emerging in the form of stop arm cameras, or side cameras, for school buses to be better equipped against reckless drivers. 

Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy said although the school district has not looked into installing the cameras, it would not be opposed to using the technology. 

The cameras are designed to only activate and start recording when the stop arm on a bus is extended. 

The camera will only record between the time that a school bus stops until the time it starts driving again and retracts the arm with the stop sign attached. 

This technology has improved the rate of violations from drivers disregarding the stop arms on school buses in San Marcos, according to Iris Campbell, Public Information Officer for San Marcos CISD. 

But Savoy says Hays CISD has not had an issue with non-compliance. If they were to install this technology, according to Savoy, it would be more of a preventative solution than a reactive one. 

Savoy said to implement such a decision would be a little more challenging for Hays CISD, which spans several cities and law enforcement agencies that would have to collaborate in order to use this technology. 

Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said the city would consider working with other entities. 

“We would certainly consider cooperating with city of Kyle and the Sheriff’s Department to implement this kind of technology if it was proposed by the school district,” Ruge said. 

Kyle Mayor Todd Webster shared Ruge’s view that if the school district approaches the city, and all other concerned parties, with a proposition to implement this technology, they would not be opposed to considering it. 

Both mayors' shared concern of stop arm cameras on school buses is similar to the recent debate among Kyle citizens regarding Vigilant Solutions and license plate reader technology.

Citizens debated whether cameras on police cruisers that capture an image of a license plate are violating people’s privacy.

Savoy was confident that the technology will make its way to Hays CISD when the time is right. 

“Other school districts are using the cameras so we want to look into it for the future safety of our students,” Savoy said. 

Hays CISD hopes to begin the process with deciding entities starting this summer.

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