Big Brother is on Pasco school buses

Big Brother is on Pasco school buses
PASCO, Wash. - Pasco Schools has a new way to keep your kids secure on the bus ride to school. Every bus got an upgrade this summer, allowing the district to know where every bus is at every time and even how fast it's going.

Linda Zepeda is a Pasco bus driver. She understands how important her job is to parents.

"The safety is the number one priority, the safety of the children, to make sure they get off at the correct stop," said bus driver Linda Zepeda.

And now she has Big Brother helping out. Pasco added security cameras and tracking software in every bus. Staff can see and hear what's going on in all 131 buses. Pasco can also tell exactly where the bus is and how fast it's going. If there's an issue staff can re-route drivers to get the kids to school on time. It can also keep track of when the buses stop and where in case a mistake is made, like if a kid gets off at the wrong stop. Using all the new upgrades, it could tell where the student got off and when.

"To have all these gadgets to help us and to ensure we do our job correctly," said Zepeda.

KEPR learned it cost 58-thousand to update all the buses, yearly operating costs are eight-thousand, but PSD says you can't put a price on safety.

"It goes beyond just transporting students, they are children, and our property is to do just that safely," said Supervisor of Transportation Jose Hernandez.

Staff tell me they get many calls from parents about reckless driving or speeding by buses. Now they will be able to see it and have a record.

"They rely on our system to transport them in a safe, professional, and efficient manor, so we take this seriously," said Hernandez.

"Safety of children, and it gives us a piece of mind as well," said Zepeda.

Pasco officials say they aren't stopping with this technology. They may have also researched the idea of putting barriers around the driver to keep them safe in a hostage situation.