In Vermont, Cameras in the School, But Not Monitored

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -- The Brattleboro Union High School board has authorized security cameras inside the building, but the images will be recorded and not viewed live.

Board members decided that constantly monitoring the images could be an intrusion.

"I think anytime you have a security camera, there is the assumption you're being watched," said School Board member Shaun Murphy.

He said he felt the indoor cameras could breach the atmosphere of trust with students, as well as invade their privacy. He came up with the amendment not to view the images live as a compromise.

"You could review them if there was an incident," he said.

As with the external cameras, the internal cameras would not record sound. They would be positioned in the largest public areas of the school, including the gymnasium, library, auditorium, cafeteria, entrances and long hallways.

Vandalism cases have been reduced to almost nothing outside the school, said Principal Jim Day said, and administrators hope cameras inside the school will have a similar effect.

"We've made a conscious effort to show students where the (external) cameras are and the kinds of shots they take," Day said, and the same will be done for the cameras inside.

Student Council School Board Representative Jayme Van Oot supports the camera decision.

"It will probably have a positive effect because if a conflict happens and there's facts on video, kids know there's no way out of it," she said.

But she said the amendment was also a good decision, so students don't feel like they're being watched as they're eating lunch and walking in the halls.

(c) 2005 Associated Press