Do the benefits of security cameras outweigh the costs?

Becky Han, Staff Assistant

The presence of security cameras in our daily lives is an increasingly common and often unsettling occurrence.  Most Schreiber students are bound to have noticed the security cameras looming over them in the hallways. Although some people have expressed their discomfort and consider this security precaution invasive, the need for security cameras is necessary, especially in a school environment.

The topic of school safety is one of the most pressing issues in education today. When students do not feel safe, their learning experience and intellectual development are hindered.  Installing security cameras is a step towards preventing unfavorable situations that may threaten students or teachers. Like fire drills or lockdown drills, these cameras are integral to student and faculty safety in extreme situations.

“I believe that the security camera system in our school is useful for preventing both students and outsiders from committing potentially harmful acts,” said sophomore Elizabeth Betz.

The Port Washington School District has been using security cameras for quite some time, but they are being continually renovated and expanded upon. A bond has recently been passed, and if all goes according to plan, a total of ninety cameras will be installed at Schreiber by the end of the summer. While these numbers may seem staggering, at first, the benefits of these cameras should not be ignored.

Security cameras are a valuable tool for combating acts of vandalism, violence, and bullying.  If people are aware that their actions are being monitored, they will be less likely to commit criminal acts in school.

“As an assistant principal, I have seen theft on camera.  I have seen acts of violence on camera.  When people realize that their behavior is monitored, they might resist doing those things,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.

Cameras allow school administrators to properly handle misdemeanors in school. Reviewing video footage makes it easier for school officials to figure out who committed a crime and approach them afterwards. With an efficient camera system, our school has been able to lower the rate of violence, theft, and other crimes at school.

In spite of the benefits of security cameras, many are reluctant to support this system on the grounds that it violates the privacy of students and faculty members.  This argument proves invalid in Schreiber’s case, however, as the cameras will only be installed in public areas such as hallways, stairwells, and eating  areas. No cameras will be placed in bathrooms or classrooms, so everyone can remain safe without feeling like their privacy is being violated.

“I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve sat in my office and the other assistant principals sat in their offices with students looking at a camera when we have the issue in view and are able to make a student feel better knowing that justice for them had been done,” said Mr. Miller. “It’s like a relief to them because otherwise they’re just a victim and now that victim has been empowered.”

Violence in schools has disastrous effects, and all necessary steps and precautions must be taken in order to ensure the safety of all students, teachers, and administrators.  Security cameras will protect students, so the expansion of the security system in our school should be supported. All students and teachers should feel safe at school at all times, and security cameras will make that possible.