Saturday, June 25, 2011

Video Surveillance in Our Schools and Big Benefits

 Schools have now implemented a number of different strategies for creating a safer learning environment, including sensitivity, mediation, and safety training a safer for educators and school employees, student seminars teaching effective strategies for emotionally explosive situations through peer character education and peer mediation, employment of security officers and checkpoints, and the installation of live surveillance video cameras. Although studies have found that many students find the presence of security officers and the use of checkpoints more intimidating and disruptive than discrete surveillance, the use of live camera security systems remains a controversial topic in the public forum.

What Does Video Surveillance Mean?

The video surveillance systems recommended for schools consist of live cameras discretely placed in areas where student supervision is either absent or stretched too thin to be effectively responsive to a potentially negative situation. The cameras are monitored and operated by a security officer, who can use remotely controlled features such as tilt, pan, zoom, and infrared recording to record and oversee that activity taking place within the area while the cameras are placed strategically, both for surveillance and to ensure minimal disruption of normal student behavior and activities, students and parents are informed of their presence, as they are meant to simultaneously provide awareness and proof of negative activities and act as a deterrent for students who would engage in such behaviors. Some opposes to this " safe schools " strategy believe that the cameras invade student privacy, however, it is important to note that cameras are not installed in personally invasive areas such as bathrooms and showers, nor are schools rooms and halls considered to be individually private areas.

How Video Surveillance Protects Our Children

Many potentially physically or emotionally damaging activities involve intra-students hazing. Students who engage in impulsive or systemic bullying or hazing of their peers generally do so because they are confident that the behavior will not be reported of if it is, cannot be proven. The presence of video cameras surveillance systems eliminate the idea that students engaging is such activities will not be culpable. The  surety of having to pay the consequence for their actions discourages many these potentially damaging activities before they even begin.

Students who commit serious acts of violence may be driven to such an emotionally disturbed state that the possibility of capture and consequence has no effect on mitigating their behavior, in such cases, video surveillance is less useful as a deterrent, but provides significant assistance in to security personnel in anticipating such an event by capturing suspicious behavior and actions, as well as vital proof of crime in the event that such an event does occur. Live cameras also allow security officials to be made aware of and respond to violent events much more quickly and effectively than they would be able to if forced to rely on witness calls for help. As any emergency responder will testify, speed in response is often the most important factor in mitigation and rescue.

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