Virginia School Board OKs Use of Surveillance Cameras

The Fairfax County School Board moved forward with the policy allowing cameras inside its high schools.
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In an 8-4 split vote held Dec. 15, a Northern Virginia school board approved a proposal allowing its high schools to install video surveillance systems at the discretion of the schools’ principals.

The Fairfax County School Board moved forward with the policy allowing video surveillance inside its high schools, saying it is another tool to deter theft and bullying and help schools make better use of its resources.

The proposal requesting principals be given the authority to deploy surveillance systems was sought by the Fairfax County High School Principals Association and the schools’ Department of Facilities and Transportation Services, to help administrators reduce food fights, physical altercations or drug dealing. The approved plan allows schools to deploy cameras at “hot spots”—areas with a history of trouble—such as cafeterias and lobbies.

School board members who approved the plan say the policy does not mandate that video surveillance systems be deployed, rather, it gives principals the choice to deploy surveillance systems if they believe those systems are needed.

Opponents of using surveillance systems in the high schools cite high costs and inadequate information supplied to parents as reasons not to deploy the cameras.