Staff Editorial: Security cameras in parking lot
January 7, 2020
Students debate pros and cons of installing security cameras in the school parking lot.
The school should put security cameras in the school parking lot
In order to ensure student safety, the school should install cameras in the parking lot.
The addition of cameras would create a safer environment for students inside the school and out. Administrators, SRO Officers or other officials on campus could monitor and even look back at footage from the cameras for excessive speeding, hit and runs, and other suspicious activities. There has been a long history of car accidents on and around Vandegrift campus and after many of which, the liable driver has fled the scene. There are also commonly reported incidents such as theft and other students keying their cars. Students have reported the incidents to the school and its administrators with little to no questions answered, the majority of the time they don’t receive a second response after the original verification of the incident. Currently, the school has no ability to take any action to prevent events like these from happening again unless there is an eyewitness or other proof. By implementing cameras into our current security system, the footage can be used to enforce speed limits, taking fair action when accidents do occur and deterring others from dangerous driving.
A continuous uphill battle for administrators has been maintaining constant attendance from students at Vandegrift. Students often take advantage of periods like PIT and lunches to leave campus when they are not permitted. This not only puts the school at a financial deficit because funding is based on attendance but also at a liability risk if something were to happen to a student. It is the school’s responsibility to oversee students and their safety during the school day; when students leave campus without the proper documentation or measures, the school has no way of knowing where they are or if they are safe. Security officials should be able to monitor the arrival and departure of students and also, with the addition of cameras, enforce rules regarding skipping class.
While this would not be inexpensive, the school already has a camera system monitoring the inside of the halls. Parking lot cameras would only be an addition to our current camera system. Due to this, a full camera system purchase and install would not be required as it would only be an upgrade or addition to our current system.
Today, there are almost no repercussions of illegal or unethical activities that happen in our parking lot. With the inclusion of cameras, students would no longer be able to partake in any of these activities as it would heavily deter many because of the threat of punishment. In the past, Vandegrift has hired a parking lot supervisor to issue tickets for parking violations and check where students are going when leaving campus. We currently do not have one and because of this students have reported an increase in overcrowding of parking lots, excessive speeding and leaving campus. Instead of filling the previous position, Vandegrift should create a new position for a Surveillance Camera Monitor. Parking tickets can still be administered digitally to student’s school emails along with a screen capture of the particular event. The school would no longer have to worry about incomplete patrolling of the lots and could instead monitor them from a bird’s eye view.
The school should not put security cameras in the school parking lot
Not only would this be an expensive action, but installing cameras to monitor students in the school parking lot would create the hassle of having to check which students are leaving and determining if they are leaving with permission or without it. Between the students who leave school for appointments, off-periods, and activities such as PALS or ReadySetTeach, if a faculty member were to be spending their entire day watching back the footage of students leaving, then looking up each license plate and finding out if they are excused to leave, it would get very tedious and be a waste of time for a staff member to spend their time doing. The school would be better off to just use attendance rosters to determine who is or isn’t at school instead of depending on cameras.
The school would have to pay a minimum of approximately $300 per camera between buying the camera itself and installation. Coinciding with this, if they were to put in enough cameras to accurately see every car and be able to detect car accidents or students leaving class, the school would likely need more than 20 cameras between our four parking lots. This would take a massive chunk of the school’s budget that should be spent on things that are more needed, like teacher supplies. Though cameras would be helpful to see hit and run accidents that happen on-campus, these accidents occur far too sparsely for the purchase of the cameras to be worth buying.
To determine students who are leaving when they aren’t allowed to leave and observe hit and runs that may occur in the parking lot, the school should just reinstate having a faculty member to inspect the parking lots and entrances of the school regularly. Since the school has already had this position in the past, it wouldn’t be as damaging to the school’s budget as installing expensive cameras and then hiring someone to spend their entire day monitoring the footage. The school should simply reinstate the position that they used to have filled and not install cameras in the parking lot.