Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Do Cameras Prevent Violence?

I've intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

I've watched as parents intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

I've watched as teachers intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

I've watched as police officers intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

I've watched as neighbors intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

I've watched as strangers intervened to stop children from hurting other children.

But never in my 61 years on this Earth have I ever seen a camera-- even the most high tech cameras-- stop one child from hurting another child. Not once.

So why am I reading a letter entitled, Security Camera System Installation and Upgrades by none other than Sharon L. Contreras, Superintendent of Guilford County Schools in which Ms Contreras advocates spending $10.3 Million Dollars of the money that should be used to educate your children to install cameras in Guilford County Schools?

"We are providing the Board of Education with an updated priority list for installing and upgrading security camera systems throughout the district.
The School Safety and Technology teams have developed a prioritized and phased plan to have all schools in the district on a common platform. The priorities encompassed on a number of factors, including the school level (with high schools ranking first, middle schools second, and elementary schools third); current camera system infrastructure; rate of reported incidents, both during and after hours; and, the current security system infrastructure and environmental controls available at each school.
This project will bring Guilford County Schools in line with similar districts by adding technology to schools currently lacking camera systems, and by replacing outdated, unserviceable systems. The number of cameras per school provides for standardized coverage of entrances and exits, stairwells, corridors, cafeterias, lobbies, courtyards, parking areas and other areas not readily observed by staff.
The total cost of the project will cost approximately $10.8 million, based on the current pricing of system components and associated labor costs. The team anticipates needing approximately $1.2 million per year in capital funds to upgrade 89 sites in 9 years and to create a 12-year replacement cycle plan for security cameras, which would be in line with current industry standards.
Recommendation: Administration recommends the approval of the attached priority list for the installation of school safety cameras and related technologies, and directs the Superintendent to set aside $1.2 million annually for this purpose."

As many as 125 cameras at each high school. 80 cameras at each middle school, and 40 cameras at each elementary school, all with the sole purpose of telling us what happened after the fact.

Some of these schools have never recorded a single incident.

Is anyone going to be watching all these thousands of cameras?

Does knowing the bully that beat your kid up is going to be given a head start to a life of crime make you feel like your child is any safer at school?

Do you think that children are thinking far enough into the future to be concerned that they are being recorded? How many times have they misbehaved right in front of you, Mom and Dad?

Has Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras ever seen a child?

And then there is the problem of camera policy. Basically the Guilford County Schools has no established camera policy except that in violation of Federal law, no one, including the parents of children caught on school cameras, is allowed to see the video. From The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:  

“Law enforcement unit records” (i.e., records created by the law enforcement unit, created for a law enforcement purpose, and maintained by the law enforcement unit) are not “education records” subject to the privacy protections of FERPA.  As such, the law enforcement unit may refuse to provide a parent with an opportunity to inspect and review law enforcement unit records, and it may disclose law enforcement unit records to third parties without the parent’s prior written consent.  However, education records, or personally identifiable information from education records, which the school shares with the law enforcement unit do not lose their protected status as education records because they are shared with the law enforcement unit."

That's right, it may not say video but if it is a record owned by the school then it is a protected record. As a matter of fact: Guilford County Schools are making the claim that because other children appear in the video, parents don't have the right to view videos of their own children. You can't have it both ways.

Already Guilford County Schools are denying parents access to videos of their own children and the plan is to spend $10.3 Million more Dollars on cameras to deny information from its rightful owners?

That, Dear Readers, is not a camera policy. That is a plan to turn our schools into prisons and deny the rights of parents and children.