Gazette/GBT.org iIllustration/ ELLIOTT HYMAN
Ever since their installation last summer, security cameras around Granite Bay High School’s campus have been filming all activities – day and night, weekdays and weekends.
The presence of cameras have definitely made it harder for students to get away with trouble and have made life a little easier for school administrators and officials trying to keep the campus safe.
Although the thought of being watched every day might seem intimidating, most students have hardly noticed a difference.
“Honestly, I forget that there are cameras filming me,” sophomore Heba Bounar said. “For me, it’s not an issue because I don’t have anything to hide, but for other people who might want to get away with something, they always have to keep in mind that they’re being watched.”
Assistant principal Brian McNulty agrees that although some privacy is sacrificed, the cameras shouldn’t concern students if they are doing what they are supposed to do.
“There is a certain amount of loss of freedom with these kind of things … when you give up part of your freedom for security,” McNulty said. “If you’re doing the right thing, it doesn’t really matter anyway.”
Regardless, the surveillance cameras have served as an important tool for the safety of the campus. Administrators make the protection of students their top priority. Administration collectively views the footage almost every day, and especially when circumstances warrant a video review.
McNulty said, aside from medical emergencies and safety, the cameras not only capture poor behavior and trouble, but also the positive actions made by students around campus.
“We see students helping other students who have injuries or are in wheelchairs,” McNulty said.
“I know, recently, a few (students) were nabbed vaping coming out of the bathroom, and (because it was on camera footage), they were caught,” said Michael Valentine, a Advanced Placement European history teacher regarding the mischief among students that is also recorded on the surveillance cameras.
The question is whether or not it is fair to hold students accountable for almost anything they are caught doing wrong at school, with the clear evidence of their actions from camera footage in almost every place on campus at all times.
“You make your own decisions, and that’s your fault if you weren’t responsible enough to make the right one,” Bounar said.
For McNulty and other administrators, the benefits far outweigh any concerns.
“It’s made my life simpler in that people know that there’s going to be tangible evidence to their actions, and it deters people who care about getting caught,” McNulty said. “Before cameras, I just had eye witnesses. Now, I got an eye in the sky.”