Smile, you’re on camera

Jake Hamilton, Opinion Editor

Two summers ago, a group of students went on school campus in the middle of the night. They had a joy ride on a golf cart, eventually crashing it and breaking a gate at the science building.

This kind of night-time vandalism is not uncommon for any high school, and security cameras are intended to prevent that. Carlsbad High took down its cameras during the construction of the new buildings, and new cameras were put in at the beginning of this school year, serving both to protect the people on campus and prevent vandalism.

“The cameras were installed mainly for the protection of property,” principal Dr. Steitz said. “So for the most part, we’re talking about after hours. There’s nobody monitoring the campus for safety at that time. Someone can go on campus and cause damage that the school is then liable for. The worst thing in the world is to suffer a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars which could have been recuperated by holding somebody accountable.”

The new buildings were built with inner wiring intended for the installation of surveillance cameras.  However, issues with the servers and fiber-optic lines that could not support the quality of video, delayed the addition of the cameras. Still, many students stay on campus during lunch and feel uneasy at the thought of cameras recording them all day.

“I think some students would view it as an invasion of privacy,” junior Connors Jackson said. “Nobody likes being watched.”

But Steitz insists that the school staff has better things to do than individually scrutinize each student as they eat food.

“We only view [the tapes] if there is an incident,” Steitz said. “If we came to school in the morning and found damage to the CAC or broken windows, we could then go back and review the tapes to find the license of a car or a description of the subject to help law enforcement. We don’t have someone to sit in front of a screen and watch you all the time — that’s not the purpose of the cameras.”

Though cameras may seem new to some of the students at CHS, many other high schools have video surveillance as well, including Sage Creek, San Marcos and Mission Hills.

“Most high schools have cameras,” Steitz said. “Its really to deter vandalism more than anything, because vandalism is just so expensive for any school to recuperate from.”