Fairfax County Debates Surveillance Cameras in Schools

Fairfax County School Board reviewing plan to install cameras in high schools

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After last year's rash of cafeteria fights, most principals in Fairfax County, Va., say they want video surveillance cameras in their schools. (Published Monday, Nov 14, 2011)

    Principals in Fairfax County would like to be able to keep track of students with new surveillance cameras placed inside high school buildings.

    On Monday, the Fairfax County School Board will meet to discuss the proposal.

    The school board writes on its website that after the school system's principals met with PTSA's over the past two months, the planned cameras have met with positive reaction.  Principals said that 80 percent of the PTSAs either supported or took no position on the new cameras.

    The proposal before the Fairfax County School Board on Monday would not require cameras to be installed in schools, but would give principals the discretion to install the devices in their schools.  The school board notes that many regional school systems already use such cameras.

    The Washington Examiner reports that principals would like to place these cameras in trouble areas.  The paper reported school administrators' rationale for the new surveillance:

    "During lunchtime, in our common spaces, and in passing up and down our hallways, large numbers of students are under minimum supervision. ... Students report to us that drug transactions occur in our crowded cafeteria spaces because of the anonymity provided by large crowds," the county's High School Principals Association wrote in a memo to the board earlier this fall.

    If the plan passes, it would be up to each principal to come up with the funds.

    The cameras could cost about $900,000 county-wide.

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