Dallas County Schools Unveils the "School Bus of the Future," Complete with "Pedophile Finder"

DallasCountySchoolsBus.jpeg
Dallas County Schools
Dallas County Schools -- the local school district with no schools or students but lots and lots of school buses -- sent word last Friday that it was preparing to unveil the "School Bus of the Future," and that this futuristic vehicle will "will revolutionize school bus transit and exponentially increase the safe passage of students to and from school." We were intrigued.

My money personally was on some sort of armored personnel carrier, which the Department of Defense is handing out like peppermints. Web editor Gavin Cleaver, a deeply cynical British man, speculated that it's "probably just some unemployed guy in a battered old Ford Galaxy," which would be more in keeping with tradition.

It turns out the School Bus of the Future looks very much like the school bus of the past, i.e. big, yellow and ungainly with a retractable stop sign.

That, Dallas County Schools explained today in a press release, is because the improvements are mostly invisible from the outside.

A brief glance won't tell you the new buses are equipped with voice-over-IP communication systems, or that they transmit data on speed, location and acceleration in real-time. The "Thumbs-Up!" thumbprint scanner, which keeps track of which kids are on the bus and whether they're supposed to be there, is also hard to see unless you're really pressing your face to the glass, as are the multiple interior security cameras.

Slightly easier to notice is the rear-facing camera, dubbed -- no joke -- the "Pedophile Finder."

"I wish we could have come up with a better name for it," says Dallas County Schools spokeswoman Allison Allison. (Yes, that's the correct name.) The camera, mounted on the top portion of the school bus and positioned to capture the license plate of tailing vehicles, isn't just to catch pedophiles. It could be a parent who lost custody of their child, or a kidnapper. But "Pedophile Finder" was the name that stuck.

"The bus driver can't tell if somebody's tailing him but if they recognize a pattern of a car following a bus" based on video, they can take appropriate measures.

The whole setup is called BusGuard, which was developed by DCS and Louisiana-based Force Multiplier Solutions. DCS provides buses for all Dallas County school districts, serving some 425,000 students. All 1,900 buses will be outfitted with the equipment by the fall, Allison says.

A full list of specs can be found here, along with the comforting reminder that "in the event of a serious terrorist or hi-jacking emergency, the control of the management system can be transferred to the appropriate law enforcement agency."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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23 comments
rcl44
rcl44

They also put a camera on the side that automatically takes a picture if you pass while its out and they send you a $300 ticket! I am currently fighting a bogus ticket from Feb. 19 in San Marcos, TX. This program sucks as the drivers have no control over the cameras. They come on even if the stop arm is out and nothing is going on with the bus. The company BusGuard that administrates the program is based out of Dallas and is also quite slow as this occurred on Feb. 19 and the citation was not mailed until Mar. 20(which took a few more days in the mail). The officer that runs the system is rather rude when you meet him in person as well. I think a camera is an interesting and possibly helpful idea but it needs to be controlled by the driver for circumstances in which the arm is out for other reasons. The bus may have been parked or malfunctioning and the driver was waiting with the door open; he was there for quite a while. Otherwise I would not have even thought about passing.

Mr.Grumpy
Mr.Grumpy

Absurd...the great majority of molestation cases are done by people known to the child...an uncle, coach, 'youth pastor', mom's new boyfriend, and so on. Please, D.O., find me ONE case, just one, where pedo snared a victim by stalking a schoolbus. 

oncefallendotcom
oncefallendotcom

"Pedophile finders" are more likely to confuse an awful lot of people stuck behind these big yellow monstrosities as "pedophiles." Orwell would be proud.


REAL sex offender facts @ http://www.oncefallen.com/


1234
1234

if these new buses are wasting all this money on unneeded tech and they still don't have seat belts, then an entire group of people need to be fired.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I think Chris Hansen Cam would be catchier.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Of course...privately owned and located in a town less than 10k residents.

Anyone see what it's costing us?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Want real safety? Run a lottery. Weekly winner bus route gets to ride in Loopy Valdez' MRAP..

WylieH
WylieH

It would be quite interesting to know more about Force Multiplier Solutions, LLC., including the background and qualifications of its principal shareholders.  What other customers do they have?  How were they chosen to provide this service?

manpanties
manpanties

this is stupid, but...



<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Qh2sWSVRrmo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

rubberduky
rubberduky

the ones scoffing at children's safety are probably the ones who are molesting their own children at home.....

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Now I've got an Elvis Costello earworm.

I imagine the gun turrets on these CTV's are neither publicized nor easily visible, but we know they're there.

Lorlee
Lorlee

@1234 The report I heard on the radio this morning did indicate that there are seat belts. 

B1ng
B1ng

Is this one of this WylieH posts where you already know the answer and want someone else to go find it?

fir3walker
fir3walker

@dingo RFLMAO!!!!

Priceless... absolutely priceless.  made my day, thanks!

fir3walker
fir3walker

@rubberduky Yeah... that has to be the only possible explanation *anyone* would find this completely idiotic and a total waste of taxpayer money...</sarcasm off>

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@rubberduky

Does your kid wear a helmet in the bathtub?

theslowpath
theslowpath

@TheRuddSki  The only thing that can stop a bad bus with a gun is a good bus with a gun. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@theslowpath

There are no bad buses, just bad bus drivers.

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