Surveillance technologies key to increasing student safety
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics says that 75 percent of public schools use security cameras to monitor their buildings.
With school shootings dominating headlines, it is not a surprise to see a rise in safety measures. As a result, many districts are investing in high-tech digital surveillance systems to keep students and staff safe from harm. Next-generation alarm systems and smart security cameras are at the top of schools’ purchase lists.
Congress and several state legislatures are also releasing federal and state funds to aid in these purchases. Implementing security measures like smart cameras is a step in the right direction.
These new surveillance technologies will complement teacher and student training programs, and physical improvements to school grounds.
In Colorado, the Boulder Valley School Board approved about $1.5 million for the district's high schools. Interior cameras will be installed in the common areas of the schools.
Stillwater (Oklahoma) Public Schools is also upgrading security cameras. The cameras will have improved capabilities like high-resolution images and 180- to 360-degree recordings. Additionally, fewer cameras can cover large areas, which will be cost-effective for the district.
Warren County Public Schools in Virginia has also pushed an increase in video surveillance. The district uses a cloud-connected, unified video capture system. It offers a wider range of surveillance, inside the school and around the greater campus.
Similarly, the Mount Vernon Independent School District in Texas has opted for high-tech, cloud-connected cameras. In emergency situations, like an active shooter scenario, law enforcement officers can send reinforcements right away.
The surveillance systems see what the naked eye cannot. Through them, school authorities can keep a close eye on hallways and common areas.
This reduces the time gap between noticing an intruder and informing the police. It has immense potential to save lives. Schools now have a better chance to contain a dangerous situation.
But not everyone’s a fan of the increased surveillance. The expansion of high-definition cameras at Detroit’s Randolph Career Technical Education Center has sparked outrage.
The school district feels that the new surveillance infrastructure will go a long way to ensure student, faculty and guest safety. The program is also in use in public places in the city of Detroit. 2017 Detroit Police Department statistics showed a 23 percent average reduction in crime in areas that had smart cameras installed.
But detractors are calling the cameras an invasion of privacy. Other activists have stated that cameras are just one part of the solution.
A comprehensive security program needs more than smart tools. It requires threat assessment, proper training, and timely intervention.
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