District 97 took a step closer to installing security cameras at its two middle schools last week after the Board of Education deliberated over a proposed policy that will govern the use of the devises.

The measure was presented at last Tuesday’s board meeting, drafted by its policy committee. Members reiterated that the policy is just a draft and will not be voted on until after several readings and revisions. The board also continued to discuss the devises themselves, which are not yet installed. The district has proposed installing 58 cameras inside and near entrances at both Julian and Brooks middle schools, costing around $90,000 paid out of the district’s Life Safety Fund.

The policy specifies where the devices will be placed and where they’ll be prohibited, for example, they won’t be installed in such places as classrooms, locker rooms, private offices or conference areas.

The board and administration added that the community will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue before the devices are installed. They’re planning to have the official policy presented to the public before adoption. Board member and policy committee co-chair Jim Gates stressed that the main purpose of installing them is for the safety of students and security of building property. He added that the cameras could be most effective if a building were on lockdown because of an intruder.

“That’s the overriding concern,” said the former Dist. 97 teacher.

-Terry Dean

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