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Video surveillance enhances Central Okanagan school safety

Thirty-two of 51 school district sites have closed circuit equipment in place

Video surveillance has evolved into serving multiple purposes where installed in Central Okanagan public schools.

Currently, 32 of 51 school district sites are making use of closed circuit video surveillance equipment, and 14 of 32 elementary schools currently have video monitoring equipment, according to the annual video surveillance report to the Central Okanagan Board of Education.

Video monitoring was originally introduced to the school district to counter theft and monitor unwanted visitors to a school.

“The issues mostly concerned minor items that took time away from administrators at the secondary school level,” said the staff report.

Today, video surveillance systems are used primarily as a means of identifying unwelcome visitors on school property, ensuring the safety of students and staff, and to help resolve a variety of issues such as theft and vandalism.

“It is also believed that the presence of video cameras act as a deterrent to undesirable behaviour,” the report stated.

In response to the issue of unwanted access to video surveillance by trustee Amy Geistlinger, school district superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal noted the video recorded is not accessible outside of a given building where it is used.

“It is not available to be hacked,” said Kaardal. “Whether a school has it or not tends to be related to security issues or a request that can come forward from the parent advisory council.”

In the staff report, Kaardal cited video surveillance security measures have never been put in place to monitor the day-to-day activities of students or staff, but rather to focus on school security for students and staff.

“While an expansion of video surveillance is generally supported by staff and school communities, it should be limited to situations directly addressing security. The use of video surveillance should continue to be monitored to ensure its proper use,” said Kaardal in the staff report.

Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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