The issue of whether to install security cameras in area schools tiptoes along a blurred line separating school safety and student privacy. It’s a current topic of debate at the UD-3 board concerning the Middlebury Union High School and, soon, the Middlebury Union Middle School.
The pros and cons are self-evident: In light of school shootings like that in Newtown, Conn., school officials and local law enforcement officials are pressing for better security measures in schools. Camera systems in the hallways (not bathrooms or classrooms) provide crucial information during any potential crisis to law enforcement officials and help school officials know how to direct teachers and students to safety.
Privacy is a personal matter for students that should not be dismissed by parents more concerned with the safety of their children. But this is not a case of one or the other. Both safety and an acceptable sense of privacy can be achieved.
Jonah Lefkoe, president of the MUHS senior class, had an excellent point in a story in today’s Addison Independent (see story here) when he noted that while he and other students understood safety issues, they just want to be kept informed of the process. Better yet, they could become part of the discussion. Who better to involve than students when talking about safety plans, the reasons for certain security measures, and how students should react in the event of a crisis?
It’s a timely issue that students as well as board members should embrace and find common cause.
Angelo S. Lynn