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New cameras monitor interior security issues

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This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (September 29th, 2017).

Visitors to campus have 15 new reasons to feel like they’re being watched, as 15 new security cameras were installed this school year.

In light of certain negative situations across Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS), the district saw it necessary to make plans for security cameras to be placed on campuses around the district.

“We have integrated cameras around the district [because] a couple of campuses have had some graffiti or minor damage,” said SCPS superintendent Walt Griffin.

Specifically on OHS campus, the original cameras–installed last year–cover the outside of campus, which helped catch exterior vandalism and monitoring concerns, according to assistant principal Drew Morgan.

Morgan said the exterior cameras were able to catch a hit and run that occurred a couple years ago.

With the success of the first wave, principal Joseph Trybus decided a second wave of cameras should be implemented for this school year, but with a different focus, looking at incidents, ranging from vandalism to stealing of cell phones, which weren’t necessarily being covered by the first wave of cameras.

“We’ve got kids who think it’s funny to rip off soap dispensers in bathrooms and spread soap everywhere, or write things on walls,” Morgan said. “It’s minor stuff, but it happens quite frequently, and I think the new cameras will hopefully prevent that kind of stuff.”

According to Morgan, the cameras will also help catch students who do these types of things.

“Most of the [cameras this year] are interior cameras [with a] focus on hallways, restroom areas and high-traffic areas,” Morgan said.

The internal cameras flag any situation regarding facilities, discipline and safety situations, but the cameras can also aid discipline with clarity in situations.

“[The cameras] also lets us see if it’s a mistake,” said dean Jason Maitland. “It allows us to see [if] they’re goofing off or [if] there’s horseplay so we’re not wrongly accusing kids of purposely doing something when we can clearly see it was a mistake.”

Trybus believes that all of the incidents will begin to dial down once people become more aware of the camera presence and the consequences of their actions.

“If you know you’re on camera, generally people behave differently, because the film doesn’t lie,” Trybus said. “We’ll be able to get rid of some bad actions.”

Morgan believes OHS is a still a safe school, and on the way to becoming more proactively safe.

“We didn’t get more cameras because the campus is unsafe, we got more cameras to add another layer of safety above what we already had,” Morgan said. “Mr. Trybus’ objective and the district’s objective is to keep the students and staff on this campus safe; the cameras are a [part] of the process of keeping us safe.”

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New cameras monitor interior security issues