School security more important than ever

AHS+security+guard%2C+Aneglo+Herrera%2C+keeps+a+watchful+eye+on+his+computer+monitor+displaying+live+video+from+throughout+the+school.

Brittany Press

AHS security guard, Aneglo Herrera, keeps a watchful eye on his computer monitor displaying live video from throughout the school.

Jorge Hoolahan

School. A place where teenagers blossom into adults and pave the road for their future. In recent years however, some see schools as unsafe due to shootings. In an effort to thwart these attacks and promote safety, schools are upgrading security measures. Unfortunately this may have a negative psychological effect to the people attending school, from students to janitors.

Auburn High School has 30 cameras currently installed around campus, and by the time Lydig is done with north campus, there will be 72 cameras total According to Security Officer, Angelo Herrera.

All of the security cameras have a 180-degree rotation ability and are able to zoom up to 100 yards while still showing a clear picture.

In the office Herrera shares with the school cop, he has what appears to be an advanced pong controller connected to his computer.

While being interviewed, Herrera’s computer displayed nine different camera angles of various locations around the school.

Herrera and some of the administrative staff have these joysticks, including the principle, vice principle and two or three counselors. The servers keep footage for thirty days before the data is deleted from the school server.

The usage of cameras is for security purposes. They provide evidence in case of break-ins or thefts, identifying someone in the position of wrongdoing such as fighting or skipping class. Unknowingly, the students and staff of AHS suffer negative psychological impacts due to the surveillance.

When humans are being watched and know it, they think and act differently. In a paper published by NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) under the section “Impact of Students perceptions of safety” one bullet point reads:

“The widespread public impression that schools are unsafe-fueled by rare, but highly visible school shootings-is contradicted by empirical evidence. In fact, schools are not only safe, but arguably safer today than they were a decade ago.”

In a recent school survey, some students felt the cameras were intrusive to their privacy.

“The adoption of rigid and intrusive security measures in schools diminishes the rights of students and increases the likelihood that trivial forms of student misconduct that used to be handled informally by schools will result in arrest and referral to the courts” according to National Association of School Psychiatrists website.

Eighty-five students and staff answered an online survey regarding school cameras and security. 23 staff members and 62 students total.  30.4 percent of staff polled knew that cameras can zoom up to 100 yards and still have a clear picture, three reported that they were surprised to find this out, 69 percent also did not know but were not surprised.

Students on the other hand, scored differently.  32 percent clicked the “No, and this is very surprising to me,” 46 percent just said no and the other 20 percent clicked yes.

At the end of the survey, a box was provided to share additional comments, here are two outspoken opinions.

“Camera’s on during the passing period are fine, but any other time or in classrooms is an invasion of privacy. Especially since half of the student body is not aware that there is a usage of cameras in the building at any time or place. I get this is to protect the students from possible threats, but protection should not trump freedom no matter the situation,” Wrote survey taker number 59, Shaniece Coultas.

“I believe that security cameras are necessary. Even though they can be an invasion of space, it is all worth it in the name of student security. They are a useful tool that would be used for the sake of student safety. They will keep us safe,” survey taker number 73, Alex Fischer.

At least 300 students would need to be polled for accurate representation of the student body.

“I don’t think about them much but even though I don’t have bad behavior at school they kinda bother me. I don’t like people watching me,” survey taker number 83, Cheyenne Vickers.