Administration adds new cameras to address hate incidents and vandalism


Will Kriner

Security cameras, like this one in the A-Building, will soon be added to campus entrances.

Will Kriner, Senior Reporter

In light of recent vandalism and hate incidents on campus, administration plans to install two new security cameras around the entrances of the school, which they hope will help deter future incidents.

Although there are limits to surveillance in schools — most notably, cameras are not allowed in bathrooms or classrooms — security footage has proven useful in investigating hate incidents. For instance, on Feb. 6, white supremacist stickers were found outside the library, and three days later, thanks to surveillance footage, the administration was able to report the exact time of the incident and a description of the perpetrators.

The cameras were also able to identify the perpetrator behind an incident of anti-Semitic graffiti found in the boys’ bathroom  on the week of March 10.

However, Principal Jennifer Fong acknowledged that the security cameras’ surveillance can’t completely solve this problem.

“We’ve had some hate incidents, so the cameras have only done so much,” Principal Jennifer Fong said. “And they will only do so much at night. We don’t, you know, have the best technology. It would cost a lot of money.”

Because most incidents occur in the bathrooms, monitoring of those incidents is much more difficult. Incidents such as vandalism, graffiti, and drug use are much harder to control.

“The best we can do is observe how students act and see if they’re under the influence or [monitor] things they’re doing inside the bathroom,” Campus Safety Specialist Phillip Iniguez said.. “That’s a tough one to monitor.”

Another issue is the height of the cameras. The school is forced to place cameras up higher to prevent  students from vandalizing the cameras, making it challenging to identify who is behind an incident.

In addition to the new cameras, the campus has also added new measures in security including the addition of a new Campus Safety Specialist, stricter ID checking and the No-Sell list.

“We went from two campus safety specialists to three this year, which has helped a lot,” Campus Safety Specialist Ernesto Nunez said.

The efforts seem to be working; recently, the administration has seen a decline in incidents such as ditching class and leaving campus during school.

“This semester has been pretty good, I haven’t seen too much ditching lately. The first semester was bad and we had to crack down on it,” Iniguez said. “Recently, it’s been a little better but [we see incidents] about once a week.”

Moving forward, it is important to remember that students can play a role in preventing these incidents, Fong said.

“If you see it happening in action, tell us,” Fong said. “You can put it as an anonymous alert and we won’t know who’s [reporting] that…That would really help us.”