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Clay Community Schools Installing Hundreds of Security Cameras

As students at Northview High School pass through the halls their every step is now recorded.
As students at Northview High School pass through the halls their every step is now recorded.

"A multi-view dome camera that basically shooting at that entrance there shooting down the front stairway and then shooting the main office stairwell," Michael Howard, Director of Extended Services for Clay Community Schools said.

Howard supervised the installation of more than 70 security cameras  at the high school this year,

Corporation-wide more than 300 cameras will soon track activity at schools and offices across the district.

"Even though video is kind of retroactive when you go back and look at it to get the evidence and footage, it's from a proactive standpoint that we have that in place before something happens," Howard said.

Placed strategically, many of the cameras are unnoticed by students and staff. 

It's something Northview principal Ernie Simpson sees as a good thing.

"We don't want to draw attention to them. We don't want this to feel like a negative environment or "big brother." We have a loose environment and we like that," Simpson said.

The majority of the cameras are in high traffic areas like hallways. Restrooms, lockerooms, and classrooms are all off limits. 

"There was some concern from teachers about them being watched or evaluated while they were teaching class. Those evaluations are supposed to be done in person by the principal or assistant principal," Howard said.

But there are no limits on where the cameras' live feeds can be accessed. 

"I can be on summer vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama and somebody say "hey Mike you've got a problem at one of the high schools", and I can pull up my smart phone and pull up that camera," Howard said. 

A major investment that already seems to be paying off.

"It's a little hard for a student to say it wasn't me when they're right there on a high definition image that looks better than their senior class picture sometimes," Howard said.

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