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School safety has become of utmost importance in the world. In 2022 alone, there have been almost 120 school shootings in the United States. Although only one of these involved an active shooter, the number is staggering. School administrators are forced to take extra measures. Installing security cameras is one way of boosting overall security measures. Not only do they protect from external threats and intruders, but they also ensure internal safety and transparency.
But they can’t just be installed anywhere. There are both legal requirements to be taken into account as well as professional best practices that must be followed to ensure maximum effectiveness. Let’s review the key ones below.
- Legal requirements
First of all, school administrators need to find out the legal requirements. They vary from state to state, so there is no one-size-fits-all model that can be applied across the board. A general rule of thumb is that security cameras can be installed in places where people cannot expect to have privacy. These include outdoor space and hallways, for instance. Surely, cameras cannot be fitted in bathrooms or locker rooms.
Some states require that all security cameras be visible. Modern technology allows for cameras to be hidden from the untrained eye, so it’s important to be cognizant of the above requirement, if applicable. The audio function should also be disabled because, more often than not, it is against the law to record people without their consent. The corollary is that local law enforcement must be consulted before going ahead with a specific installation plan.
- Cameras in common areas
Once the legal hurdles are removed, you can go ahead with the installation. Common areas can be equipped with security cameras because that’s where they can be most effective. Hallways, gyms, and atriums can all be fitted with cameras. Again, it is best practice to make them visible. If nothing else, they can be a good deterrent to potential intruders or aggressors. Research shows that school surveillance can play a huge role in ensuring overall safety and keeping the bad guys away from the premises.
- Open spaces
It is also a good idea to install cameras outdoors. This can be expensive, and schools would need effective monitoring mechanisms to keep an eye on all spaces, but the effort is really worth it. Cameras can cover the entire perimeter of a school campus. They are known to be extremely effective in preventing active shooter incidents or any other potential intruders. Video surveillance allows the school’s security staff to identify and prevent such incidents early on.
Security cameras have been found very effective in classrooms too. They impede students with a notorious track record of cheating and misbehaving from bullying others. Video recordings can also be used as evidence should there be a need to prove one’s fault.
Some students often feel a lot of stress emanating from heavy school workloads. Although many use a reliable and trustworthy college essay writer helper to deal with their assignments on time and effectively, they might still misbehave in class. Cameras are a good way of monitoring their behavior in real time.
- Parking lots
We have singled out parking lots because that’s where you get a lot of traffic and movement every morning when students get in, and later in the afternoon, when they head home. Advanced school surveillance systems are equipped with plate recognition features. This can be of critical importance when school administrators need to be notified of unauthorized vehicle entry or unidentified individuals taking kids from school.
Last but not least, we should all remember that physical security and safety are just one thing. Schools also need to ensure adequate cybersecurity for students at all times. This means cyber-hardening their systems, installing safe software, and training students and school staff on things like cyber hygiene and digital citizenship. This is all in everybody’s interests.
Bringing it Together
Security cameras are used by all schools to ensure the safety and security of students and staff. Video surveillance can be a powerful deterrent against potential fraud, misbehavior, or violence. Before going ahead with the actual installation of security cameras, it is important to find out and validate the exciting legal requirements. They are not necessarily the same in all states.
It is also important to have an effective plan delineating specific areas where cameras must be installed. They can’t be placed where students need privacy, of course. Video surveillance has proven to be of critical importance when it comes to ensuring the overall security of all on the school premises.
Ruby Butz is a professional writer and former school superintendent. She also has a solid background in researching effective safety measures for schools and colleges. Ruby provides freelance consultancy services to school administrations across the country. She also enjoys sharing her experiences and findings on social media.