Hanover High Set to Install New Security Cameras
Last autumn, a member of the Department of Homeland Security visited Hanover High School (along with the other schools in its DOS district) and provided a report on the school’s safety, as it does every three to five years.
The given report was accompanied by several suggestions for improving safety at Hanover High. The visit made by homeland security is simply standard protocol in the “post-Columbine” era, Principal Campbell explained in an interview, and the idea behind it is to “better the school in any way deemed necessary”.
One of the recommendations made by the report was that several security cameras be implemented. These are now planned to be implemented sometime over the course of this year.
Principal Campbell, although asked by the Department of Homeland Security to “not to share the specifics of some of the information” as–from their perspective–this can make HHS “somewhat less secure”, was able to shine some light on the subject. He emphasized that the cameras will be put up in public areas, such as “exits, entrances, near doorways, and outside,” and that these cameras are not supposed to be secretive in any form. There will be one camera on the roof, allowing general, aerial surveillance of the premises.
Additionally, the cameras will not be strictly monitored. Rather, following an event that causes concern, footage may be reviewed to ensure the safety of each student or person involved in the incident. The cameras are “purely for the safety and protection” of Hanover High.
Though the implementation of these new cameras is namely a “security audit response”, it is also to deter students from risky behavior, such as dismantling paper-towel dispensers, which–as Mr. Campbell pointed out–has been done in the past.
The new cameras have sparked some conversation at HHS. Though there are already several security cameras in the school, some worry that the new additions may become invasive.
When asked her ideas on the incoming cameras, one student responded with just one word: “ew.” She went on to explain,“[the idea of more security cameras] makes me uncomfortable for some reason… I don’t really know, I just don’t like it.”
When asked his views on the new cameras, Mr. Bourne (an HHS English teacher as well as hall monitor) responded in an email that “while [he] repeatedly voted against cameras in the past, [he has] come to see their value.” He elaborated: “police body and dash cameras have increased transparency, and so can other surveillance cameras.” Mr. Bourne added that he believes that cameras would be most useful in entryways or outside of restrooms. In response to a question on what other changes could be made to the school to enhance security or protection, Bourne explained that “efforts to take care of all members of our community are the most important security measure we can take.”
In response to tragedies such as the shootings in Parkland, Florida, Great Mills, Maryland, etc., many schools are restricting their school’s open campus and implementing metal detectors or clear backpacks. Principal Campbell wants to “keep the environment we value,” which, “makes us safe,” as HHS is a community that “trusts each other and values safety”. Hanover High School is unique in the sense that it still has open campus, along with many other freedoms that have been stripped from students at other schools. Principal Campbell explained that additional changes may soon be executed–such as a new protocol for communication during lockdowns–though, likely, these developments will not be “super obvious to students.”