Society

School Bus Cameras Fail To Capture Injuries, Bullying

| by Reve Fisher
picture of child after he was injured on school buspicture of child after he was injured on school bus

Parents are searching for answers after their children were reportedly harmed on school buses with faulty surveillance cameras. 

Victoria Valderama of West Palm Beach, Florida, said she worked with lawyers to determine what went wrong during a bus ride in which her child suffered a serious injury, WPTV News reported on April 4.

"My oldest son was holding a wad of brown paper towels to his head and they were both randomly walking down the steps in panic saying, 'I don't know what happened,'" Valderama told the news station.

"I trusted them with the security of my kids to take them to school and no one has any answers as to how my kid came home with a puncture wound to his head," she added.

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However, when Valderama wanted to learn about the incident and requested to watch footage from surveillance cameras on the vehicle, she was given a less-than-satisfactory reply.

"Unfortunately when they pulled the video it said invalid," she said. "That no video could be pulled."

The mother and her lawyers fought the school district to no avail. 

"Just denied the claim," she said. "Your kid. Your fault. Your worry."

However, three months after this incident, another student suffered a similar experience on the same school bus.

"I flung off and I hit my head like really crazy hard," student Quinn Groves recalled. "Sharp turn and busted my head right open. I didn't know why."

These incidents are reportedly not the only ones to occur on West Palm Beach school buses with faulty surveillance cameras.

"Someone needs to let the public know the issues we are having,"Jose Sarmiento, a bus mechanic supervisor, told WPTV News in a separate article.

"They complain about kids getting hit. Bullying. Fighting and they don't see no recorders. The video tape. There's nothing in there. It's blank. Nothing working on it."

Dr. Robert Avossa, who took over as superintendent in the 2015-2016 academic year, has been trying to fix the problems plaguing the bus system.

"It's one of the worst transportation systems I've seen in 20 years," Avossa said.

Although the district has spent $1.5 million over the past six years in order to install two camera systems, allegedly no one was responsible to ensure the cameras actually functioned.

"We put these cameras in for a reason and that's to provide absolute security on the bus," parent Jack Mahoney said.

This information was part of a 10-month Consumer Watchdog investigation conducted by WPTV News.

Sources: WPTV News, (2) / Photo Credit: WPTV News (2)

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