RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Police are still looking for the person who set a Wake County school bus on fire in the Leesville High School bus lot on the Fourth of July.
It’s one of 34 bus lots Wake County uses to house more than 800 buses.
Each bus cost tens of thousands of dollars. Overall, it is millions of taxpayer dollars spent on transporting kids to and from school. CBS North Carolina wanted to know what systems are in place to protect school buses, and are those protections adequate?
We visited about a third of the system’s bus lots and found almost every single one did not have a fence and did not have cameras in the actual lot.
We even found some of the buses with doors left wide open.
Some schools have cameras mounted on their building that face towards the bus lots, but there were very few.
Wake County’s largest bus lot is off of Rock Quarry Road.
That lot has fencing with barbed wire and cameras. There are also security guards at the site. However, during our visit, the gate to the buses was left wide open.
We asked Wake County Schools about the issues.
They did not provide anyone for an on-camera interview but said the buses are covered by insurance.
A spokesperson issued the following statement:
We work closely with WCPSS Security and local law enforcement agencies to prevent incidents of vandalism. These incidents are rare.
Our campuses are not public forums. Visitors are required get permission to be on our campus. While our security measures protect our property (like buses), our priority is always the protection and security of students and staff.
The school district said they have cameras on their campuses, at their entrances, and in their buildings. They said they use law enforcement to secure campuses.
The bus fire at Leesville High School is not the first time a bus has been damaged. There have been several reports of vandalism, battery thefts, and other incidents, including in 2014, when several buses at Southeast Raleigh High school were burned. Investigators believe the fires were set intentionally.