Security cameras raise privacy concerns among some students

UNDER SURVEILLANCE. Teacher Rebekah Tipton, left, speaks with parents during Seviers Open House. Security cameras monitor everything in the hallways at Sevier.

Karla Hernandez

UNDER SURVEILLANCE. Teacher Rebekah Tipton, left, speaks with parents during Sevier’s Open House. Security cameras monitor everything in the hallways at Sevier.

Kylie Moore, Yearbook Editor

Every day, students walk through the hallways at Sevier Middle and look up to realize that somebody is watching them. The hallways at Sevier Middle are filled with security cameras. Some students are worried that the cameras invade their privacy.

Jim Nash, Chief Student Services Officer, insists that the cameras are for the safety of students and staff.

“If there is an issue, it lets us go back to address it and resolve it,” he said.

Some students feel weird that a person could be watching them at every moment, even if they aren’t doing anything bad. Most students believe in acting the right way, even when no one is watching.

Nash believes that students do not need to be concerned about their privacy.

“There isn’t anything identifying them specifically and no one else can see their footage,” he said.

Corde Moore, a sixth grade student, agrees.

“I don’t think cameras violate my privacy because I have nothing to hide,” he said.

Kathleen Donnellan, 7th grade teacher, believes that the cameras are a good idea.

“Security cameras are sadly a necessity in today’s world,” she said.

Not everybody is comfortable with the cameras.

“I feel like it does violate my privacy sometimes, because they can see what I’m doing at every moment and it makes me feel uncomfortable,” 7th grade student Anna Wampler said.

Parents who want to review footage have to make a request to either the principal or Jim Nash and set a time to come watch it. The only reason that a parent could see the footage is if their child has a problem or got in trouble.

“The only way adults review the footage is if a child has an incident that needs to be fixed or resolved,” Jim Nash said. “Most of the time, it is not looked at. It is only looked at if there’s an issue or concern.”

Despite all the cameras in the hallway, there are no cameras in the classrooms. Why not?

“This is because it would cost thousands of dollars just to put cameras in classrooms,” Nash said. “Also, teachers are in there that can watch the kids and keep them on track.”

Some students also wonder how long the footage is kept on file.

“It varies by school location, depending on the server that stores them,” Nash said. “Some [are stored] for just a few days and some for two weeks. We are trying to get servers that have at least two weeks.”

Despite some students’ concerns, the security cameras are for the safety of the students and the staff. If there is an issue or incident, the footage helps the school resolve the problem.

Many teachers and students feel safer knowing that there are cameras in the school, especially at the entrances.

“Without the cameras, if there was an emergency, we would not know what happened,” Cassidy Gregg said.
Donnellan agreed.

“[I feel safer], particularly with the cameras monitoring people coming in the school,” she said.

Tony Weaver, a sixth grade teacher, believes it helps keep students in check.

“I do think it is somewhat of a deterrent for behavior,” he said.

In the end, Sevier Middle is a lot safer with cameras.

“We are fortunate to have the number of cameras that we do for safety,” Nash said.