Friday, March 24, 2006
Use of high school surveillance cameras questioned
A petition article on Concord's Warrant requests a "moratorium on the installation and operation of surveillance cameras in and around Concord public schools, CCHS and Town-owned buildings and grounds." The Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) discussed the petition at their meeting on March 14.
RSC member Betsy Bilodeau said the Concord Selectmen talked about whether Concord's town meeting can vote it. It was unclear that the article would be binding in the RSC space. Fitzgerald said, "The regional school district is an entity unto itself. The RSC is the final governing body for what happens here." "We should prepare a response, why we came to this decision," Bilodeau said. Fitzgerald pointed out, "We're not having this debate in CarlisleWe want a comparable discussion in Carlisle." RSC Gerry Wedge suggested that the RSC ask the petitioner who wrote the article to come to the RSC meeting on March 28 to discuss the issue.
On November 22, the RSC approved a policy authorizing the use of video cameras on district property to try to stem the high incidence of theft, particularly in the locker rooms. The policy states that cameras will be placed in locations deemed appropriate by the principal in consultation with the superintendent. Students in violation will be subject to disciplinary and legal actions.
According to CCHS Principal Art Dulong, five cameras have been installed at CCHS: one outside each exit door from the boys and girls locer rooms, and one in the cafeteria, viewing the vending machines. The cameras are monitored intermittently, and back frames can be viewed as needed. No one has been apprehended committing vandalism as a result of the cameras, but Dulong said there is "significantly less theft since tthe cameras were installed."
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