Friday, April 7, 2006
RSC asked to quit surveillance filming at high school
Jim Catteron, the man behind the Concord Town Meeting Article pertaining to surveillance cameras at the Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS), shared his concerns with the Regional School Committee (RSC) on March 28. He said, "I just don't think the town and the RSC should go into this [the use of surveillance cameras] with casual thought."
In November the RSC approved the use of video cameras on district property to try to stem the high incidence of theft, particularly in the locker rooms. Catterton had been told that the items stolen in the locker rooms were not locked up. He thought this was a good life lesson to be learned for those students who lost the items.
Catterton wants the RSC to follow the Province of Ontario's 12-page document on surveillance cameras. The Ontario guidelines require: a statement of goals, a description of what has been done in the past, an open discussion with the town, a policy on how long tapes will be saved and who gets to view them, and also an understanding of the relationship with the police in regard to the tapes and potential thieves. Catterton was concerned that these cameras change the relationship between the administration and the students. "You are trading Big Brother for responsibility."
CCHS Superintendent Brenda Finn said that theft has dropped dramatically since the cameras were installed. Where there used to be five or more thefts a week, now there is one theft or less a week. Leigh Davis, student representative on the RSC, said, "The cameras are effective where they are. If they are removed, things will go back to the way they were."
Because the Regional School District is a legal entity separate from the towns of Carlisle or Concord, it is not clear what effect passage of the Concord Town Meeting Article might have. The subject is not on the Warrant for Carlisle's upcoming SpringTown Meeting.
© 2006 The