Dorchester District Two awarded $500K for school bus safety upgrades | #schoolsaftey

Sophie Brams and Erin Morgan

Courtesy of Dorchester District Two

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD)- Dorchester District Two (DD2) has been awarded half a million dollars to enhance safety on school buses, officials announced Tuesday.

The district received a $500,000 grant from U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through the School Violence Prevention Program.

DD2 Director of Transportation Steve Shope said the district was “very happy” to receive the funds which will be used to add more video cameras to approximately 150 school buses across the district.

Currently, each bus has two standard definition cameras on board.

“In our current configuration the cameras are toward the front of the bus so we can hear some of what’s being said at the front of the bus but a lot of background,” he said. “So this will just give us more fidelity throughout the entire bus and help us to help kids that may be having problems with behavior and address it more promptly before it turns into something worse.”

The goal is for each bus to have six closed-circuit video cameras, five that look internally and one that looks externally out of the windshield of the bus.

Officials said these additions will “significantly increase coverage, deter misbehavior, and provide a safer environment for all students and staff on board.”

“A lot of the time for a bus driver with up to 78 children on a school bus, it’s very difficult to tell who is doing something — especially in the back of the bus,” Shope continued. “And if there is sort of a bullying situation whether it’s verbal or physical, these cameras have both video and audio ability.”

DD2 was one of the four South Carolina school districts to receive COPS grant funding. Florence County School District 5 was awarded approximately $322,000 while Greenville County Schools and Lexington County School District 3 were awarded $500,000 each.

The COPS Office is responsible for “advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources,” according its website.

The district hopes to have the cameras installed and operational by Spring of 2024.

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