Video Surveillance in K-12 Schools

Patricia Hawke

Skyline School in Portland, Oregon, has placed cameras in the schools to monitor and protect its students. Last June, a seven year old, disappeared from their school and thanks to a great donation, the school was able to install these cameras to protect other students. Many high schools are starting to install video surveillance camera on their campuses because they want a method to deter crime and deter students from doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. This method works wonders, if a student is thinking of ditching class or thinking of bullying another student and they see the cameras, most likely they will not do it because they don’t want to get in trouble.

Some people may ask, is this giving the schools too much knowledge into our personal life’s? What if this video surveillance catches on and the government starts installing them everywhere? We already have video surveillance in parking lots, stores (to prevent theft), also government buildings and now at stoplights to catch red light violator’s when a police officer isn’t around. Is our world going to turn entirely monitored by these cameras and prevent us from ever having real privacy and freedom as our constitution gives us?
 
It would be easy to get an approval for the use of cameras on campus by outlining the safety benefits, which there are great benefits to having the cameras on campus. To prevent crime and potentially identify people committing crimes to be able to prosecute them later is an amazing advantage of having these cameras installed in schools. The benefits of having these cameras installed on school campuses clearly outweigh the cons. If having these cameras installed can prevent just one more student disappearance, it would be worth it.
 
Student safety is always a number one priority but by installing these cameras, is this giving the schools less reason to have campus security on the grounds monitoring the students? One fear about the installation of these cameras is schools might feel that because of this great video surveillance on the campus they might need less security officers on campus to monitor the students, since it only takes one or two to monitor the cameras. If students see a decrease in security on foot, the might be able to beat these technological devices and either break the cameras or block the view and then going ahead to commit the crime they were going to do in the first place.
 
By schools having these cameras they need to make sure that they are not decreasing their actual security officers and make sure to not rely on the cameras as their only source of Intel about crimes being committed in the schools. It would be easy to become lazy and rely on the new technology to monitor the schools and then cut costs by having less security officers, but in the end, if the schools cut their real, human officers, what will the schools do in the event of a power outage or emergency situation? Technology is great and has so many advantages as long as it is used correctly and not relied on 100%.
 
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