We hope you’ve each had a great start to the school year. We are writing to notify you about a new partnership between the district and King County, which will allow us to implement student safety stop paddle cameras on 20 percent of our buses. Camera installation will occur the week of Oct. 8. Following installation, there will be a grace period when violators of bus safety laws will receive a warning and not a citation.

Stop paddle cameras are similar to red-light cameras at traffic lights. When a school bus stops to pick up or drop off students, the bus driver puts on the amber lights, followed by the red lights and then extends the stop paddle prior to opening the door for students. When the stop paddle is extended, drivers are required to follow state laws regarding stopping and waiting. The size of the road and the direction of travel dictate which vehicles are expected to stop. Cameras are being installed as a student safety measure. These cameras will capture video of cars illegally passing school buses.

During the grace period drivers who do not stop will receive a warning letter by mail. Following the grace period, drivers who illegally pass a school bus will be issued a $419 ticket. We realize this is a large fine, which is why we are making a concerted effort to inform our community of this change prior to implementation. We will send additional communication related to the grace period and enforcement date once those have been set.

The safety of our students and staff has been and continues to be a focus area for the district and is highlighted as part of the student well-being priority in our new strategic plan. Visit our Student Safety Stop Paddle Camera Program page for frequently asked questions and to refresh your knowledge on when it is and is not legal to pass a stopped school bus.

We thank you for your continued support and partnership in efforts to keep our students safe.