Outdated cameras on DeSoto school buses don't work

Outdated cameras on DeSoto school buses don't work

(WMC-TV) - School buses in DeSoto County are all equipped with surveillance cameras because you never know what might happen. But some of those cameras are not working, and it is causing some big problems.

The school district assures Action News 5 that cameras are on every bus, but problems arise when someone tries to pull the tapes.

Monica Jordan's daughter is suspended from Center Hill High School after DeSoto County deputies say she assaulted another student on the bus.

Jordan says her daughter was bullied, but wants to view video tapes from the school bus to see what happened.

"I want to view the evidence. I want to see how they came to the conclusion they came to, I just want to know," she said.

But the district says the camera was not working.

It is the same response I heard when former bus driver Tracey Ann Riva wanted her tape reviewed when Southaven Mayor Greg Davis illegally passed her school bus.

Action News 5's Michael Clark contacted the school district to see if there were issues with cameras on the 400 plus buses.

A spokesperson responded, "349 of those buses are relying on older and less reliable VHS technology to record activity on the buses."

Jordan says she is not defending her daughter, but thinks reliable cameras are essential to figuring out what happened in these situations.

"I just want to know. I don't condone any wrongdoing on anybody's part. But how can we tell?" she wondered.

The school district is in the process of upgrading to digital cameras, but it is already costing $90,000 to install the devices on 53 school buses.

The superintendent blamed state budget cuts as a reason for not being able to purchase the hundreds of thousands in equipment.

But Jordan feels it is a price that should be paid so that eyes are on the children while the driver is behind the wheel.

DeSoto County released the following statement about the bus cameras:

"Desoto County Schools maintains a modern school bus fleet of 402 regular and special education buses. Each and every bus is equipped with cameras and recorders, and have been for the last eight years. Due to underfunding from the State of Mississippi, 349 of those buses are relying on older and less reliable VHS technology to record activity on the buses. A total of 53 buses have been upgraded to digital recording devices at a cost of $90,000.  Each year the district budgets to upgrade the recording devices, but further budget cuts from the state could push the time frame out several more years to completely replace the VCRs."

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