The Fairfax County High School Principals Association and the schools’ Department of Facilities and Transportation Services
Administrators say the program could help them curb disciplinary issues like food fights, physical altercations or drug dealing.
School officials estimate installing the cameras in cafeterias would cost about $8,000 dollars per school; a school-wide interior deployment would cost about $120,000 dollars.
Initial costs would be largely covered by the principals' association, they said, but “ongoing replacement, monitoring, storage … that cost would fall on the school board,” school board member Stu Gibson (Hunter Mill) said.
Some local community members, including those in Fairfax Zero Tolerance reform, which drove much of the late last spring, says the language used in the principals’ proposal doesn’t indicate its main focus is preventing the bad behavior.
“This is not about prevention. If it were about prevention and deterrence of activities that could be dangerous then that would be one thing. But principals and administrators are still going to be on duty in the cafeteria. There’s no data that suggests these [interior] cameras will be a deterrent at all,” FZTR Communications Director Michele Menapace said on Friday.
Others, like Gibson, say its a privacy issue.
“The zones of privacy people have these days are shrinking and I don’t think school system should be a part of shrinking what little privacy people have,” Gibson said.
The issue comes before the school board again at an Oct. 17 work session. Would you support video surveillance? Weigh in on our poll above.
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