Fairfax Co. to vote on school cameras by year’s end

Max Smith, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va. – When a fight breaks out in school, whose story should the principal believe? Soon, that may not be an issue in Fairfax County high schools.

The school board will meet Monday afternoon to consider allowing high school principals to put cameras in cafeterias and other hot spots. UPDATE: The school board is now expected to vote by year’s end on allowing the cameras.

After the proposal came up in September, principals went to parents groups to find out what they thought.

The principals tell the board that 17 of the 25 PTSAs support the cameras, two oppose them, and six are either split or take no position.

The supporters of the cameras, including many principals, point to potential safety benefits and having a true objective witness. Opponents worry about a lack of privacy and trust, and the fact that the cameras have not been proven to be a deterrent.

The school board staff is recommending that the cameras be allowed.

It would be up to each principal to talk to their school’s parents and students about installing the cameras. The funding would come from individual schools’ budgets, which are funded by things like parking and rental fees that that school collects.

If all schools decide to install the cameras, it’s expected to cost just under $900,000.

There are cameras inside other schools in the Washington area, and Fairfax County already has them on their school buses.

Find more information about the school board meeting here.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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