Last year we met with law enforcement representatives and others in workplace safety to create a list of needs for our campus. A number of identified needs have already been fulfilled (security blinds on the classroom doors, interior and exterior room numbering, installation of mirrors near the main entry, etc). The upgrading of parking lot lighting and installation of more perimeter fencing around the school were identified as priority items as well.
While creating the needs list, we were notified that our current camera system will not be supported by the manufacturer after March of this year, making it especially high priority. Noting this deadline, and the need for additional security cameras across our campus, it was decided to make this the “Fund-A-Need” ask at the Gala; a grant application was also submitted for the purpose of supporting security upgrades. The fund-a-need was more successful than anticipated and provided funding for all proposed phases of the camera expansion effort. In addition, we were fortunate to be awarded some grant money, which will allow for the parking lot lighting upgrade to be implemented sooner than we anticipated.
Last week, the facilities committee met to discuss and prioritize the related work to be done. We hope to have new LED lighting in our parking lot, and additional exterior building lights installed, during spring break, if not sooner. All existing security cameras will be upgraded from analog to HD and new security cameras will be added to stairwells, the gym, science labs, music room, art room, main office, library, fish bowl and various hallways inside the building not currently covered by surveillance. A minimum of 5 additional cameras will also be installed outdoors, near exits, the press box and athletic field.
The areas of expanded surveillance were chosen based on a number of factors – their public use, value of equipment, dangerous nature of chemicals or tools, etc. that could pose a heightened theft or injury risk. The timing of the camera installation is yet to be finalized, but will be completed prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year at time that is least disruptive to classroom instruction.
Please note that security cameras are not currently being, nor will they be, monitored on a regular/daily basis; we trust our faculty to effectively manage their classrooms and utilize camera footage only if/as situations deem necessary to protect students and employees. These cameras are visual only, there is no audio functionality. And, in the event that footage needs to be reviewed, with the privacy of all in mind, it will be done discreetly on the small screen monitor that currently sits on the far corner of the main office reception desk; there are no plans to install a large-format wall monitor.
Please know that you are welcome to contact the office if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for the role you play in maintaining a safe environment for our students.
God bless you,
Gwenn Roche and Jill McIntosh