Installing Surveillance Security Cameras A Safety Measure or an Invasion of Privacy
Schools across the country are looking into ways to keep the students and the administration safe. A recent idea of installing video cameras in the schools has come to the surface. This would serve as a method to keep an eye on who is entering and exiting the building, but also serve as a way to hinder violence within the schools. There is a lot of controversy about allowing cameras to be installed in the schools our children attend. Is making this step for the safety of the children a needed precaution or is it an invasion of privacy? Below is a list of some reasons for such a surveillance system and the pros and cons of it being installed in schools.
Reasons to Install a Security Camera System
• Crime in schools has been growing in recent years and the students need to be protected from mass shootings and random acts of violence.
• During the 2005-06 school year, nationwide reports reveal that one crime occurred for every twenty students across the country.
• Eighty six percent of the schools across the country have reported one or more serious and violent incidents during the same school year.
• Around 100,000 reports of vandalism and destruction of school property are reported every school year.
Security cameras in schools Pros and cons
Pros of Video Cameras in the Schools
• The cameras can provide a sense of protection for the student body and the faculty.
• Being watched discourages random acts of violence. When fights between students occur, it will be known who started it and who involved weapons if that is an issue.
• Petty offenses like theft and graffiti will most likely lessen by a great deal because there is a greater chance the perpetrator can get caught.
• Cheating is another aspect that students would reconsider before following through with the action.
• Cameras are a neutral tool that can extend the reach of administrators. The systems will assist in making decisions for their safety based on the behavior recorded through the surveillance system.
• Police will maintain a neutral standpoint when it comes to happenings on school grounds. The only time involvement will become necessary is when criminal acts of violence take place.
• It can protect teachers from the false accusations of a student looking for attention.
• It can protect students from an abusive teacher. The truth can be revealed in situations where teachers yell at student inappropriately or they may even strike a child.
Cons of Video Cameras in the Schools
• Students are constantly being under surveillance, giving them the impression that they are guilty until proven innocent. This type of system may actually attribute to and reinforce the behaviors it is meant to hinder.
• Police can be involved in everyday school disputes that normally would have been taken care of in house. If police get called for every fight that breaks out in the halls of the schools across the country, students could be arrested for unnecessary reasons. In the end it would add more strain on the judicial system and a stigma on the children that did not need to be there.
• Many attest that video cameras can do nothing for the big things the children actually need protection from. Events like the Newton massacre and the Sandy Hook shooting could not have been stopped by a surveillance system.
• Installing Security Cameras can be considered a violation of privacy. Some legal specialists state that installing the surveillance system goes as far as violating the student’s constitutional freedom.
• A surveillance system of this size that accesses all areas of the school will be a huge expense. It's estimated that a state of the art system can cost up to half a million dollars just to install. The annual maintenance fee will also be a cost consideration.
Locations of the Cameras
• One of the aspects that's a major consideration for all involved in this decision is the location of the cameras. It is considered fine by most to allow surveillance in the hallways and entrance ways, but some people consider the classrooms a step too far.
• Most that have concerns about the idea of cameras being placed in schools are absolutely against the installation in locker rooms and other places that should remain private, even if they are only at the door.
• A middle school in Tennessee had cameras installed in the boys and girls locker rooms at the door. Even with them pointing outward, the cameras caught about a dozen girls changing. These images were accessed by unauthorized users over one hundred times because the school failed to have a secure system and did not change the factory set access codes.
The difference in opinion on whether cameras should be allowed in schools or not continues. Which is better security or freedom? As the nation decides, make sure the children are the priority.
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