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Beyond the Cave

Do Cameras Belong in the Classrooms?

Recently, Summerville has been debating whether or not to install cameras around the school. How have students and teachers alike reacted to this?
Leila Stuart
The school already has cameras installed outdoors around campus that are being updated this year. The aim is for any indoor cameras to mirror these outdoor ones.

Summerville is considering installing cameras into teachers’ classrooms in the future. Overall, these could have positive and negative aspects but many teachers and students here at Summerville are concerned over how cameras will be used to watch over classes in practice. 

The aim of installing cameras in teachers’ classrooms is to provide more safety around the school. In case of an active threat such as a shooter, the aim is to be able to observe more parts of the school. 

“It is strictly a safety tool,” stated Mr. Merrill in an interview with Beyond the Cave. 

However, some foresee negative consequences of these cameras and shared their concerns as well. The general concerns were that it would not benefit classrooms and may affect classroom behavior and lead to teachers and students alike acting differently in classrooms. 

“I am against it, the reasoning being that I feel like whatever the stated intention is, it’s going to have a lot of unforeseen consequences that I don’t see as being good for students, teachers or parents, or really anybody,” shared Mr. Ruckman. 

Mr. Patey also shared concerns, primarily in that he had a lot of questions about the intent of the cameras. 

“Where would the cameras be focused? Would there be multiple cameras? Is there one focused on the teacher? Is this a camera that’s focused on the kids?” questioned Mr. Patey. 

Mr. Suggs also shared concerns about the cameras. 

“I think it is a terrible idea because it can be misused, students and teachers will be judged, and people can manipulate the videos. It’s a bad idea and I don’t think they will do it,” shared Mr. Suggs. 

While many are concerned about the cameras potentially listening in on private conversations between people in the classroom, Mr. Merrill explained that watching over classrooms on the daily basis would not be a function of the cameras. 

“Nobody would be sitting behind the cameras watching them all day,” explained Mr. Merrill. 

He added that the cameras would not be equipped with microphones, similarly to the cameras the school already has installed outside. 

“It is just video only,” added Mr. Merrill. 

Regardless, some still had concerns about being monitored so closely. 

“I don’t believe that they won’t have microphones,” shared Mr. Suggs. 

Some students shared their opinions about the cameras as well. Ali Johnson, a senior, explained that she foresaw that the cameras could negatively affect teachers and students alike, making them less lively. 

“I feel like a lot of teachers would act more robotic, instead of using humor and everything because they are scared,” explained Johnson. 

Freshman Sophie Williamson also shared that she was not in favor of installing cameras in classrooms. 

“I don’t agree with it,” stated Williamson. 

The current surveillance system employs 52 new outdoor cameras, once all installed, around the school. These are not monitored constantly, but will be getting an update so that the cameras connect to the cloud instead of a server here at the school. 

Mr. Merrill explained where this idea came from. 

“This was from a conference that our board attended, they always do safety sessions and one of the things that came up was, is it important to have cameras?” he shared. 

Currently, the debate about the cameras means that the school is not sure whether they will actually be instituted. The board is currently debating about whether these cameras could be beneficial. 

“Many of the discussions are all still up in the air,” explained Mr. Christopher. 

Going forward, it is unclear whether Summerville will go on to install indoor cameras in the classrooms, but whatever happens it will certainly be interesting to see how this security versus privacy debate plays out. 

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Leila Stuart, Copy Editor
Peyton Skinner, Photo Editor
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