Schools relying more heavily on surveillance, but must consider potential impact
- As safety concerns in schools have increased due to shootings and other incidents, thousands of districts nationwide have turned to digital surveillance systems, with districts like Virginia's Warren County Public Schools having as many as 430 security cameras monitoring its nine schools, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- Along with real-time monitoring, the security systems also allow administrators and other school officials to address campus incidents and those involved after they happen, with Warren County storing video footage for 30 days at a time.
- National Center for Education Statistics data from 2014 showed 75% of public schools using security camera systems, and 70% of teachers revealed in a 2017 survey that they feel those systems can also serve as theft, vandalism and cheating deterrents, EdTech reports.
While security cameras and other measures, like metal detectors, can serve schools well in preventing incidents, catching them in real-time, or addressing those involved after the fact, It's also worthwhile for administrators to consider the potential psychological impact they can have on students. An overabundance of easily visible security cameras, metal detectors and security officers, for example, might make a campus feel more like a prison than a school.
Students are more inclined to learn best when they feel they're in a safe and welcoming environment. While additional security can improve the latter, the potential prison-like feel isn't the most warming. Administrators looking to implement these measures may want to consider ways to mask them so they aren't easily visible to students, in addition to working with security officers to ensure they're also working to build bonds with students rather than serving simply as an imposing authority figure on campus.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 Digital Surveillance Systems Help Keep K–12 Students, Staff Safe from Harm
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