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Eye of the Tiger

Security cameras may hit district after OHS

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(JOHNNY MULLIGAN/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JOHNNY MULLIGAN/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JOHNNY MULLIGAN/EYE OF THE TIGER)

KAIA WHITNEY

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Within the next year, Roseville High School could have security cameras operating on campus.

This comes after the Roseville Joint Union High School District board approved a security surveillance pilot system for implementation at Oakmont High School, with plans to bring the system to each site in the district after one year.

The decision was finalized at the board meeting on January 14. Measure D funds will cover the expense, which will run nearly $45,000 per camera for parts and installation.  

Roseville High School’s campus was recently vandalized with a swastika and Ku Klux Klan acronym on the side of the band room. In response, RHS principal David Byrd promised to “beef up” security around campus. If district and site administration determine the OHS pilot program is successful, RHS could potentially get the surveillance camera system installed as well.

The cameras will not be monitored at all times, but rather used as a source of reference when any acts that need to be reviewed occur on an RJUHSD campus.

“It is about keeping our campus safe for all of our students and staff at all times,” Oakmont assistant principal Sondra Myles said. “Hopefully this is one more layer of security that can help prevent problems from happening in the first place.”

OHS administration expects the installation of  16 cameras around the perimeter of the campus. According to OHS assistant principal Isidro Carrasco, as of now classrooms aren’t expected to be covered by surveillance, but this may change with time.

The district is mainly focusing on covering large common areas such as stadiums and parking lots, especially during the night or at times that no one can be watching.

The purpose of this installation isn’t to be invasive, according to RHS principal David Byrd, but to prioritize campus security and safety. He specifically believes security cameras would have been helpful when two students set the graduation stage on fire in 2014.

“We had an incident years ago out there at the football field. If we had cameras out there and could see, that might have been a deterrent to people lighting stuff on fire,” Byrd said. “But we have to ask questions too like ‘Are we going to put them inside building? Are we going to have them on the interior and be able to identify people in an unsafe place?’”

Signs will be placed next to each of  the cameras to advertise that the cameras are recording at all times, and flyers will be sent home to parents to inform them of the new policy, according to the Jan. 14 district board meeting packet.

Byrd expects that RHS will be a more challenging scene for the camera installation due to the size and sporadic layout of the campus, whereas campuses such as Oakmont and Granite Bay are more open and will require less strategic placement.

“There are so many nooks and crannies [at RHS],” Byrd said. “Where I came from was a modern school that had this giant quad, and we didn’t have cameras, but if we did you could have put one camera in every corner of the campus and see the internal parts of campus and you could have put one in every corner of the exterior and you could have seen the entire school and it would have been great. And here I think it’s just more complex and complicate. It’s hard to single an area out.”

Former RHS assistant principal and current social science teacher Jon Coleman supports the new security measures finally arriving at schools, and campaigned for their installation while serving as an administrator.

“This campus is way too wide open, and we need to take more steps to make sure that our students, faculty, and staff are secure, ” Coleman said. “I think a comprehensive video surveillance system is long overdue.”

RHS junior Clayton Stauffer believes that the security cameras may not improve student behavior on campus.

“With the installment of the security cameras, I think that the campus could be safer but at the same time they may cause more people to do suspicious activity more secretively, and behind the backs of teachers,” Stauffer said.

The district board has discussed the idea of a comprehensive surveillance program since district meetings back in 2007, but was only actualized with the arrival of Measure D funds.

“The policy has been in place for a number of years,” Coleman said. “I don’t know why it took so long to complete.

OHS senior Kristen Cox agrees with the district’s decision to install the cameras.

“I feel like the cameras will help with those who don’t follow the rules, and to keep people safer around campus,” Cox said.

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