HARRISBURG – The Senate approved legislation this week that would improve safety on school buses by allowing the use of audio recordings, according to the bill’s sponsor Senator Richard Alloway II (R-33).
Senate Bill 57 would permit the use of audio recordings on school buses for disciplinary or security purposes, provided the school board adopts a policy to allow the practice and notifies students and parents of the policy. Current law permits the use of video recording equipment in school buses and school vehicles, but audio recordings may violate Pennsylvania wiretapping laws.
Alloway’s bill would provide an exemption from wiretapping laws for school districts who choose to adopt the practice.
“Parents and school district personnel share a common goal of making sure students get to and from school safely without the threat of violence, bullying and other bad behavior,” Alloway said. “The use of video recording devices on school buses has served as an effective deterrent to physical violence. Extending this protection by allowing audio recording would be a valuable tool in resolving disputes and preventing verbal bullying.”
While the bill would allow the use of audio recordings, the use of these devices would not be mandated by the legislation. Audio recordings would not be authorized when a school bus or vehicle is used for a purpose that is not school related.
Senate Bill 57 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.