Student Safety First for Killingly School Bus Drivers

Killingly school bus drivers – members of AFSCME Local 1303-261— see their work as more than simply transporting kids to school. They are responsible for protecting those kids, making sure they get to school and return home safe and sound.

Thanks to a collaboration with Council 4, they now have something they have been advocating for: miniature dash cameras that record the activities of motorists while the drivers are picking up and dropping off school children.

“These cameras will help us protect the kids and the safety of our community,” Claudette Rogers, president of the 28-member bargaining unit, said.

Rogers pointed out that she and her colleagues school have no time to stop their vehicles and take notes if a motorist ignores the warning lights and stop signs that school bus drivers routinely deploy on their routes

“There have been no repercussions when people run our lights and our stop signs,” she added.

Until now, that is. With the new cameras on hand, the Killingly drivers can capture those instances when motorists disobey school bus traffic rules. The footage will be shared with state and local law enforcement authorities.

“We see a lot of repeat offenders. People just don’t have a regard for safety,” said Local 1303-261 member Jude Loiselle. “These cameras will help us prove that there are repeat offenders.”

Fellow driver and union member April Phillips echoed those sentiments. “Having a camera will improve safety during my most dangerous run of the day,” she said.

The cameras were provided through a special grant from Council 4 after Local 1303-261 members grew frustrated that their concerns were being ignored, according to Staff Representative Tricia Santos.

Council 4 Information Technology Coordinator Jonny Dailey oversaw the acquisition and installation of the mini-cams, and trained the drivers on how to use them properly.

“Jonny went above and beyond to make sure the cameras work properly,” Rogers said. “We really appreciate what Council 4 is doing for us. It’s all about the safety of our kids.”