How video cameras help improve classroom learning and campus safety

When Micah Watson, an 8-year-old with autism, came home with bruises, his parents suspected their son had been mistreated in a closet-sized “calm room” at Plano ISD’s Miller Elementary School. It took two years for the child’s mother, Bethany Watson, to finally see video from that day, which showed Micah being forced into a tiny padded room at the elementary school in Texas. The door was held shut while the child yelled, “No! No! Let me out now!” At one point the teacher egged Micah on with, “Kick me. You’ve already done it. I don’t care.”  The student was knocked to the ground in an attempt to remove his shoes. When the child begged to be let out, the teacher responded, “No.”

This horrific incident led to important changes at Plano ISD and throughout the state of Texas. The teachers involved in the incident were fired. All calm room spaces at Plano schools must now be at least 50 square feet and without doors. This episode, combined with similar high-profile occurrences across the state, led Texas to pass SB507, requiring cameras in special education classrooms. Advocates of the law say the video cameras go a long way in both easing parent concerns and in protecting teachers from wrongful accusations.

The topic of video cameras in the classroom has been brewing for years. Schools that have deployed cameras in public areas have experienced dramatic safety benefits. For example, Fraser Public Schools in Michigan found that the incidents of fighting dropped to near zero. Police officers have found body cams provide an important defense against false accusations.…Read More

Emergency notification in jeopardy if students tune out digital signage

Messages should be capable of being conveyed through digital signage in just seven seconds or less, or else students will tune them out.

If a digital sign can’t convey a message in seven seconds, the technology runs the risk of blending into the background, one expert says—and during campus emergencies, that could prove dangerous.

Schools and departments on college campuses are often competing with each other to see which building touts the most advanced digital signage, but in the arms race for fancy graphics on impressive screens, the potential for emergency messages is lost, said Sean Matthews, president of Visix, a developer of software that’s used in digital signage.

Read more about emergency notifications in higher education……Read More

SROs: A great investment in campus safety

SROOne of the best security measures any district can employ is a school resource officer (SRO)–a trained police officer assigned to a campus. If an emergency strikes, the officer is there to immediately help take control of the situation. There was a perfect example at the end of August…

Campus recovering after massacre

police tape webIt’s been more than five years now since a 16-year-old student at Red Lake High School in Minnesota shot and killed his grandfather and the grandfather’s girlfriend. He then took the grandfather’s police-issue weapons and squad car to his school, where he…

Work with staff, parents, and students

home_security_camera_ste-320x243Not long ago, the decision by a Northeastern school district to install security cameras in two high schools without any announcement to parents, faculty, staff or students stirred up a hornet’s nest…

Think outside the box: Doing more with less, Part 2

Dollar Sign on Green BackgroundIn my last blog, I wrote about the massive budget deficits facing most school districts, making it vital that everyone learn to do more with less. Yet, at the same time, we can’t overlook the security needs of our campuses. A few thefts or acts of vandalism can cost more than…

Keep after-school events safe

School Resource Officer_2311The start of a new high school football season is a reason to celebrate–but it also is a time for administrators to be on guard against those who find the games an excuse for criminal behavior. And it’s not just football that can lead to security problems on campus. The same can be true for dances, concerts, and other after-school activities. Fortunately, there are some steps that can help control a situation before it gets out of hand…

More schools take security seriously

keypadAs we enter a new school year, I’m happy to see several districts spent the summer making investments in keeping their students, faculty and staff safer. One New Mexico district partnered with a new…

Train and maintain

OTE_lab_close_0ne of the more confusing stories I’ve read lately comes from East St. Louis, Ill., where burglars have taken more than $1 million in…