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New State Law Allows School Buses To Record Sound

PITTSBURGH, PA (KDKA)-- It used to be if you to be if you had a camera on a school bus, you could only record video.

However, thanks to a new state law, now you not only can see what's happening -- you can hear it as well.

School bus video has been around for years. Some of the images captured from around the nation are disturbing. But by law in Pennsylvania, it was all video and no sound allowed.

"You can't tell from a silent movie what's happening on the bus," said Yough School District Superintendent Janet Sardon.

It used to be any such audio recordings violated the wire tapping law. On Feb. 4, Pennsylvania's State Senate Bill 57 became the law of the land. It essentially says audio can be recorded off these cameras.

And those two reason are why in the Yough School District, the wheels on the bus may go round and round, but the bus itself is now wired for sound.

However it wasn't just a matter of switching on the mics. First, a plan had to be sent to Harrisburg.

"The second piece of it was to send a letter home to families, kind of informing them that we're going to do audio recording on buses," Sardon said.

Followed by school board approval, in addition all transportation must have a sign posted that tells students, you are being watched and listened too. The measure is more than just to provide back ground noise. It's there to give context.

"There's two scenarios," Sardon said. "One would be talking with the bus driver on the bus, you'd be able to see that. The second scenario is making sure that the kids on the bus, if there's any issues within the kids on the bus you'll be able to see and hear what's going on. There's always interpretation there, but it at least allows us to get closer to the facts of the situation at hand."

Not only do the larger units have this capability everyone of the smaller buses as well as vans can do the same thing when it comes to recording audio.

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