Video cameras added across GBHS campus

Security upgrades come after troubling year


Sydney Sewell

Security cameras are now installed on the GBHS campus and keep an eye on students every day.

Andrew Yung , Co-editor-in-chief

  It’s not that school campuses are no longer safe – it’s that they are no longer as safe as students, parents and teachers want them to be.

  As a result, Granite Bay High School – along with many other schools across the nation – has increased its security system and protocols in the past year, adding door-locking mechanisms and security cameras on campus.

  This national trend – to increase campus security – largely stems from the national reaction to several school shootings that occurred last year.

  GBHS students and faculty members fully realized the possibility of such an event last May after a note, threatening to shoot up the school, was found in a school bathroom.

  No person ever acted on the threat, but the hours-long lockdown that ensued because of the note left many people more concerned about the school’s safety.

  “The lockdown last year was surreal,” senior Josh Yeargin said. “Because of the school shootings around the country, especially the Parkland (Florida) shooting, I was just thinking about what could have happened here.”

  For others, the event added fuel to their fire to fight for change.

  Bethany Brooding, a GBHS senior who co-coordinated the March For Our Lives walkout at the school last spring, said the event played a large part in adding to her zeal.

  “I became more passionate about (reform) when we had the lockdown at our own school,” Brooding said. “It just made everything feel a lot more real.”

  The lockdown, as well as the shootings around the nation, caused GBHS to make some changes on its campus.

  “Our culture had a couple of major incidents (across) the United States last year,” assistant principal Brian McNulty said. “These (security upgrades) were definite reactions in an effort to keep our constituents safe.”

  One of the first problems the school addressed was making sure the safety of the entire campus was being considered.

   “Granite Bay is a 40-acre parcel  that has close to 3,000 people going through it any given day,” McNulty said. “We’re trying to make sure that people … coexist in (the) environment (and) ensure everyone’s safety on campus.”

  Part of the school’s movement toward safety included the addition of 28 security cameras that are now installed. GBHS is only the third school in the Roseville Joint Union High School District to have active security cameras on campus.

  “We have three long-throw (cameras) and 25 fisheyes,” McNulty said. “We have a dedicated server to (the cameras) also, so we’ve got recordings of videos, which will be around for three weeks. We can do a multitude of other things with it.”

  In addition to the cameras, the school has also given out Lock Blocks – a mechanism that allows a faculty member to lock a classroom door from the inside – in order to upgrade safety protocols.

  “We’re (giving) Lock Blocks for every single classroom and teacher that wants one,” McNulty said.

  This overall safety effort comes not just from the school district, but from the community.

  “I don’t think (the upgrades) were school mandated,” McNulty said. “We’ve been talking about cameras for 10 years, and (we’ve) gone so far as to get a couple estimates done. (Only recently), the leaders of the district and parents in the community put their heads together and said (their) No. 1 idea was to keep schools safe. And cameras came pretty close to the top of that list.”

  On the student side of things, the reaction to the cameras have been mixed.

  “I feel a lot safer knowing that our school is under surveillance,” Yeargin said. “If anything bad were to ever happen, we could always refer back to the video footage to find out what happened.” 

I feel a lot safer knowing that our school is under surveillance

— Josh Yeargin

  Others, however, aren’t so comforted by the cameras.

  “I can appreciate the Lock Blocks and having little things here and there,” Brooding said. “Whether it’s having a quicker way to make the door lock (or) an easier way to locate students on campus, I think that’s all great. But I don’t think, if we’re talking in the aspect of true school safety, that it is anything really of any substance.”

  Instead, Brooding offers another explanation for her increased sense of security.

  “I feel … safer (but) it’s not because of the cameras or the Lock Blocks,” Brooding said. “Probably because we haven’t had a lockdown again, and the whole out of sight, out of mind (concept). When we go on summer break and you don’t hear anything about school shootings, it does give me this kind of false sense of security when I don’t hear about it every single week and it’s not on my mind all the time.”

  Brooding also said the improved general safety protocols are more effective than the gizmos and gadgets.

  “I feel safer,” Brooding said, “because, especially after the walkout and having these kind of discussions, certain teachers on campus are a bit more aware and have more of an action plan.”