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Cameras in Schools: Extra Safety Measure or Violation of Privacy?
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 05, 2013, 08:33 PM   
Proponents argue that cameras in schools can be an efficient, minimally intrusive method of security. Unlike metal detectors or guards, cameras do not significantly impact the daily lives of students and teachers. Cameras are also more affordable than other forms of security. "They (schools) can now buy 10 cameras where they could afford two before, so they're becoming more mainstream," said Bob Stockwell, a global technology leader with Stanley Security.

Cameras are not only easily accessible, they are also able to provide sharper images and greater storage capacity, enabling footage that is easy to view, store, and share. This technology is considered a cutting edge way of keeping schools safer.

Jason P. Nance, an assistant professor of law at the University of Florida maintained that cameras can be a valuable tool but are often overlooked."It seems to be accepted throughout the public, both socially and politically, that cameras are an acceptable way to monitor students." He continued, "What people don't realize sometimes is cameras are actually more intrusive than people think. Because their uses are not overt, like pat-downs or metal detectors, they don't send out a prison-like vibe."

Some view cameras in school as more intrusive than helpful. Critics see their covert surveillance capabilities as a violation of the fourth amendment.

"Constant surveillance, from the time children enter school to the time they leave, teaches the wrong thing about the relationship between the citizen and the government in a democratic society," said Jay C. Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union.

While their value is up for debate, schools still face the conundrum of when and if cameras are appropriate. Many schools view locker rooms and bathrooms as violations of privacy. Additionally, devices were found illegal when embedded in school-issued laptops that were taken out of school.

As schools continue to negotiate a happy medium, many safety experts believe that cameras are here to stay in public schools. Ronald D. Stephens, the executive director of the National School Safety Center, stated, "My take is, we've certainly lost some of our innocence and we've lost privacy to cameras."

What do you think about cameras in schools? Does your school use them? If not, what do you think should be done to keep schools secure?

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Originally posted by Ruthie at AAE.

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