Mom of bullying victim petitions to add cameras to school buses

Posted: Updated:

A woman in Brick Township is leading a petition drive to install surveillance cameras on school buses.

Kate Zeoli says her 11-year-old son was not only bullied, but assaulted on a bus, but there was no video from the bus to catch what happened. The sixth grader told his mom over the phone that he was beat on his way home from Veterans Memorial Middle School.

"I got a call from my son and my heart broke," says Zeoli. "I had to leave my desk and cry. He was choked, people were yelling, laughing at him, they have it on video. The bus driver had no idea."

Though the event was caught on a phone camera, Zeoli wants to make sure cameras are in the buses so administrators know what is happening every time.

News 12 has been told the Brick school district did consider major safety enhancements to schools, including cameras in 2018, but the referendum missed approval by 23 votes.

The school board president says they have been in search of money for upgrades, saying in a statement, "Recent events in Brick continue to reinforce this focus; we need to be progressive in our approach to this ever-changing world. The recent petition by concerned parents may raise awareness and voter support for the Brick Township Board of Education's vigilant security initiatives."

Zeoli says her research of other districts with cameras, like Toms River, has shown it would cost about $1,000 to outfit each bus with cameras.

Unlike transit buses, school districts are not mandated by the state to have cameras on board.

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