Target 11 investigates: Who's listening to your kids on the bus?

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PITTSBURGH - Keeping an eye on students is a key issue for many parents.
 
Some school districts are now changing how they record students on-board buses to crack down on bullying and threats. 
 
Schools have long been using video to monitor students.  But even with that, it’s tough to tell who said what.
 
For years, school districts could see but not hear what was recorded on school bus cameras, but Target 11 has now learned that under a new state law, districts now have the green light to roll on conversations.
 
“It's a great way to cut out the he-said-she-said type of thing as opposed to just watching video when you have the audio with it. It makes a big difference.  You see and you hear what happened, and you really can't deny what's is being said,” said First Student Ross Township Bus garage manager Mike Bacco.
 
Target 11 wanted to see how it works, so Bacco agreed to give a live demonstration.
 
Earle and photographer Ward Hobbs boarded the bus with the camera rolling and the microphone on.  At the end of the trip, Bacco showed Target 11 the video.  It captured every move made and everything said.
 
The Shaler Area School district is developing a  new policy to allow the recording of audio on school buses. 
 
“It's another layer of safety that allows us to be able to No. 1 prevent bullying. Maybe they will think twice about what they would, you know, how they would act. Secondly, if they act out and there are incidents, we have a better idea of being able to identify really what's occurred when we can listen in on those conversations,” said Shaler Area School Human Resources Director Gary Mignogna.  
 
Before they can record students, the bus company is required by law to post signs warning students that they are now being recorded, and the district must send notices to parents informing them about the change. 
 
If all goes well, Shaler is expected to implement audio recording on buses sometime in the fall.
 
Target 11 also found several other districts planning to use audio, including Mckeesport, Gateway, Norwin, and Seneca Valley.