Making school bus stops safer, that’s the goal of an area school district after the tragic accident that killed three children crossing the road in October.
Rochester Community Schools now plans to add stop arm cameras to all of the buses it has in use.
The school system says it’s been a priority to move quickly.
Immediately after the accident in a neighboring school district on October 30, Rochester began making busing changes. Within just a few days, it had rearranged bus routes to make sure no children had to cross a roadway. Now, the district plans to add stop arm cameras to their buses.
“We’re just trying to be diligent for everybody here. To make sure the safety of our kids and our drivers,” said Robert Daugherty the 2nd, school resource officer Rochester Community Schools.
The accident in October took the lives of three children from a neighboring school district. School officials wanted to make changes to make sure something similar didn’t happen here.
“We moved really quick, even the day of that tragic accident we’d already called and started making route changes. That very same day,” said Daugherty.
Now with a donation from a local business owner, they’ve been able to add their first stop arm camera to a school bus.
“We have one installed now. On a bus that we are having problems with in a certain area of the county, we have one now,” said Daugherty. “But as soon as we get them all nailed down, we’d like to get them installed as soon as we could.”
The cameras cost a little over $2,000 each, and school officials say they will greatly help with enforcement for people that don’t stop.
“Just in the last week we’ve had four, and of those four I’ve been able to file with the prosecuting attorney’s office charges,” said Daugherty.
This school district hopes parents know they are taking the safety of their students seriously.
“In any tragedy, we hope someone learns from it,” said Brad Weaver, president of the school board. “And we’re going to point the finger at ourselves first. We’re not going to judge other schools for what they do, but we’re going to do what we can here.”
Michael Schwab is the grandfather of the three children killed and he says hearing about schools changing their busing laws due to the tragedy helps the family heal.
“I was so happy to see them take that lead and really kind of make this such an important first step for everybody,” said Schwab. “And they see the value on it, and they did that on their own without any prompting. It says a lot about who they are and how they feel about their children’s safety.”
Now the school district does not have the money for the other cameras yet, they are hoping for more donations from local businesses. But they told WSBT 22, if it's not donated, they will find the money somewhere, as this is a priority.