Security at stake?

RJUHSD to introduce security cameras to campuses across district


In schools across the country,  technology has found itself more and more incorporated with education in various forms such as Google Drive, chromebooks and proboards.

The Roseville Joint Union High School District soon be adding to this technological list by equipping security camera systems on district campuses.

“Our sites’ safety teams and outside safety consultants have recommended cameras for years,” RJUHSD superintendent Ron Severson said via email. “We received one-time money last year, and set aside some funds for cameras.”

The RJUHSD board of trustees recently approved a surveillance camera pilot at Oakmont High and is planning to have these security systems reach all district sites in the near future.

“The (purpose of the) pilot is to determine the value added and to work out any kinks,” Severson said.

Granite Bay High principal Jennifer Leighton said she is looking forward to the addition of security cameras around campus.

“Since we can’t supervise every area on campus 24/7, the cameras could help us with our investigations,” Leighton said.

The cameras will be placed in large public areas such as quads, parking lots and hallways on school grounds.

Both Severson and Leighton said it’s not unusual to have surveillance cameras in schools, and the RJUHSD is one of the only local districts that doesn’t currently have them.

Ultimately, Severson said, “safety and security” were the main motivators in deciding to implement cameras throughout the district.

When discussing possible negative reactions from students, staff and families, Severson said  “the cameras will help us identify who is responsible for vehicle vandalism in the parking lot, who was involved in bullying or a fight or who grabbed your backpack at lunch,” and “most people are supportive of that.”

Still, not all students support the introduction of security cameras on RJUHSD campuses.

“Personally, I would feel very uncomfortable being videoed at school,” GBHS junior David Zagaynov said. “It would be an invasion of my privacy.”

Zagaynov said he believes the compromise of students’ privacy isn’t worth it in the big picture as it would “infringe on the integrity of (a) learning environment.”

Zagaynov said cameras might fail to solve any major issues because students can wear masks or cover their identity. Instead, he senses major blowback from the attitudes of students and families that don’t want to be filmed.

Leighton noted, however, that the pilot at Oakmont High School “will show that cameras are very helpful both as a preventative measure and as an investigative tool.”

Regardless of how some students or staff members will react, Severson emphasized that “the goal is to make our campuses safer.”