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Under surveillance: More schools turning to cameras for safety reasons

Patricia Hickson
Emma Garrard / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza/ School police officer Dave Grinde watches surveillance cameras Friday afternoon at Incline High School.
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INCLINE VILLAGE – Officials here hope to install surveillance cameras at the middle school before the end of the year.

Incline Middle School Assistant Principal Nichole Truax, who last year introduced the idea to “create a safer school environment,” said the school has met its initial goal of raising $6,000 for the system’s installation.

Surveillance cameras have been installed at Incline High School for at least nine years. There are no such surveillance cameras at South Tahoe Middle School or South Tahoe High School, but there are cameras on school buses, according to the district.

“We don’t have surveillance cameras now, but there have been discussions regarding certain high-security areas,” said STHS Principal Marcia Kaster.

Students at Incline Middle School had mixed views on the cameras.

“No way should there be cameras,” said IMS sixth-grader Nykl Motola. “We need some privacy at school.”

But sixth-grader Hannah Tietz said she wouldn’t mind the cameras.

“It would catch people that are doing bad things,” she said.

Surveillance cameras, used in public venues such as malls, stores, parks, and cities across the U.S., have a history of some controversy in public schools.

In 2003 a group of parents filed a lawsuit against Overton County school board in Tennessee after discovering that images recorded by surveillance cameras installed in a locker room could be accessed via the Internet.

Surveillance cameras at the University of Nevada, Reno, had their turn in the public eye in 2003 after a professor at the college alleged cameras were used to monitor his activities after he filed a complaint regarding the abuse of research animals at the school.

Truax said the surveillance cameras at the middle school would only be in public areas such as the hallways and the playground.

She said she hopes the cameras will help alleviate problems of rough housing during passing periods, vandalism of school property after hours and theft.


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