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Superintendent moves security camera debate out of public view

November 2, 2011

The School Committee has scheduled a “review” of security procedures at other schools around the state to bolster the argument that the Marblehead Public Schools need cameras to watch over the kids. Claiming, without validating documentation, that $30,000 worth of “vandalizing damage” is done at the high school every year, the superintendent is in full support of the placement of the cameras all around the schools. The Salem News1 cited “some pushback from residents who don’t want cameras installed,” and this was confirmed by School Committee member, Thomas Connolly who said, “Every time I’m in public in Marblehead, someone approaches me about this.”

But to quell the dissent, perhaps, Superintendent Maass has stated, “Given the fact that we are now at that point where we are going to develop policy, and the work of the committee has shifted a bit, it should be now an operational committee underneath the superintendent’s office.” Actually, the School Committee “develops policy,” and the superintendent enforces the committee’s policies. It could seem like an effort to move a contentious debate out of public eye. But the superintendent clarified, “This is not a power grab. This is just a procedural and operational reality.” Then again, when the School Committee deals with an issue, it is in the open at public meetings. This new arrangement moves this issue into closed meetings with no public participation. These new meetings, Maass stated, “are not required to be posted.” So there. He also added that any “pertinent” information from the security committee will be brought to a school committee meeting. So if the committee deems something to “have logical precise relevance to a matter at hand,” then they may bring it to the school committee. Seems like a high hurdle for public participation to jump over. More likely this will be among the last times this issue of cameras on the kids will see the light of day.

  1. 11/2/11, p. 2. Michael Phillis []

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