Camera scheduled to be placed during renovations

Surveillance systems will soon be installed in the cafeteria after the FCPS School Board approved their use in FCPS high schools on Dec. 16.

“It is a good practice for the safety and security of the staff,” principal Jay Pearson said. “For students waiting for rides, there would be a level of security and documentation.”

The cameras used for video surveillance will cost $32,000 and will only be for use in cafeterias and high traffic areas, excluding classrooms, locker rooms or bathrooms according to Policy 8614.5, Video Surveillance. The policy “would not require the installation [of] cameras, but rather would allow principals, with the support of their … communities, to install surveillance cameras only in those areas of the school that are consistent with the revised policy.”

Students have had mixed reactions about the School Board’s approval of this policy.

“It helps to monitor hallways to know if there is any trouble going on,” junior Alanah Faye Inquig said. “Also it helps with strangers going in and out of school like when someone stole money from students in the music wing.”

Although some students view this policy as positive, others oppose its implementation.

Senior Madeleine Fleshman said this issue was raised numerous times in the Student Advisory Council meetings. The meetings allow student representatives to give a student voice to county decisions.

“To me the biggest problem is the cost component. Some students argue it is an invasion of privacy,” Fleshman said.
Despite the cost component, Pearson said “the timing is good because we are under renovation, there are no ceilings, making installation easier.”

The surveillance option would not be implemented until “we engage the community in support for interior cameras,” he added.