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Cameras up North

Emergency firefighting cover - Operation FrescoAlthough security cameras in schools raise staff and student privacy issues, they can be highly beneficial when it comes to deterring crime.

Up in British Columbia, school cameras are supposed to be used only as a last resort for controlling vandalism and other crimes. Boards of education are required to seek approval from school planning councils before approving camera installations.

These rules are intended to give parents a voice on school safety issues and protect the privacy of students, faculty, and staff. It’s always a good idea to get parents to be involved in their children’s safety at school.

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun reports that at least 50 Metro Vancouver schools use cameras. Only three Metro area school districts are totally camera-free.

Despite a high respect for personal privacy and contractual agreements with employee unions, cameras are slowly being added to Vancouver area schools.

When the education minister was asked about those districts employing cameras, she responded: “There is an overwhelmingly positive response from those districts regarding the value of video surveillance in deterring damage and vandalism and improving decorum in public places.”

Pretty much sounds like an endorsement of cameras by those using them.

PatrickFielPatrick Fiel is public safety advisor for ADT Security Services and a former executive director of school security for Washington, D.C. Public School System. He also served 22 years in the Army Military Police Corps, where his responsibilities included day-to-day security operations at the West Point Military Academy. During his time with ADT, Fiel has conducted more than 100 television, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews as a public and school safety expert.

Follow Patrick Fiel on Twitter.

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