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Video surveillance to be installed in school buses

Blackduck School District officials have started discussing installing video surveillance on all school buses.

The matter was brought up at the School Board meeting on Nov. 12, where the board was asked to consider approving the first reading of the new policy.

Superintendent Wally Schoeb explained it is something he and the staff at Blackduck Bus Garage were working on.

The plan, according to Schoeb, is to have a company install the first set of cameras on one bus and watch so school employees can install the remaining cameras in all buses.

The main reason for installing the cameras will be for safety and also as insurance, officials said.

“A lot of it’s protecting the driver,” said Ben Frenzel, head of transportation at the Blackduck Bus Garage.

If there was an accident or a violation, the driver of the bus will be able to review the incident.

“It works well in the courts, you know, if something were to happen,” Frenzel said, “It’s kind of an insurance policy.”

In the event of an accident, violation or misconduct, the bus driver will be able to hit a button and mark that spot on the recording.

Some cameras will face inward on the bus to watch for misconduct. Frenzel said that there are a couple of routes that have issues, but not many.

The school is waiting for quotes from bus companies that provide video surveillance on buses.

“Eventually you’re going to see where it’s going to be mandatory, I think,” Frenzel said.

Schoeb said the school building already utilizes video surveillance, so adding cameras to buses is just an extension of the policy.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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