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Video cameras installed at Douglas High School

by Merrie Leininger, staff writer

Douglas High School students will begin school next week under the watchful eye of electronic video cameras.

The Douglas County School Board approved the $48,720 cameras at its August board meeting. Business Services Director Rick Kester said J-Tronics Inc. of Reno was awarded the bid and installed 17 cameras on campus this week. School begins Monday, Aug. 28. Kester said the cameras were placed around the school and in the parking lot so the entire school will be covered.

DHS Vice Principal Tom Morgan presented the idea to the district after reading research that students learn better if they feel safe.

“We found that is one of the steps schools are taking nation-wide. We think when students know they’re being filmed, it’s going to change their behavior and they’re going to get better. We want to ensure everybody we’re a safe school,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the cameras will be fixed on every area on campus, including the parking lots.

“It’s not going to be the fix-all for everything. But if we have a problem, we can rewind the tape and see what happened. Even with the security guards and the school resource officer, we can’t be everywhere. If there’s not an officer around, kids are thinking, ‘Can I get away with something?’ This is going to allow us to record things,” Morgan said.

Kester said no specific problem brought on the installation, but it is “part of enhancing security. It tends to have a real good effect on fighting. We just think it’s time to do it.”

Kester said the cameras won’t be in the classrooms, just “traffic” areas.

“It’s more to keep control of our campus when we have issues that we can’t get to the bottom of,” he said.