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School “security” cameras return to public scrutiny

February 29, 2012

The said we can do it because everybody’s doing. They said we should do it to save money, but they wouldn’t guarantee the savings, and they couldn’t explain the savings they said we would save. They forgot to mention that they had already done it inside the school. And, then they wouldn’t tell us where they put them. So, now there are people who want to lay down the law and tell the superintendent and the school committee exactly what they can do with their security cameras.

An article on town meeting floor will ask voters to tell the school officials to put up signs annoucning the presence of the cameras and to set the protocols to erase the video tape 10 days after they are recorded. The new (proposed) bylaws also bar sharing the videos with state or federal authorities without the written approval of the police, who must also tell the Selectmen of his decision in writing. Emil Ronchi and 16 other sponsors are very serious about what they see as a right to privacy issue. They accuse authorities of putting in the cameras without “full public discussion.”1 The School Committee recently accepted the newly revised policy submitted by the superintendent. The vote was 4 to 0, Thomas Connolly, who originally raised the privacy issue and opposed the placement of cameras, abstained. The new policy is vague on disposal and erasing protocols and is also vague on where cameras may be placed.  It allows school officials and “their designees” to view the tapes.

The cameras may be looking at us, but now, at least, some citizens are looking at the cameras.

  1. The Daily Item, 2/27/2012, p. B5 []

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