Security cameras at all our schools

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The shocking arson at Glen View Elementary School and two other
acts of arson during spring break have brought us, sadly, to the
conclusion that security cameras are needed at all Gilroy
schools.
The shocking arson at Glen View Elementary School and two other acts of arson during spring break have brought us, sadly, to the conclusion that security cameras are needed at all Gilroy schools.

Electronic surveillance isn’t inexpensive, but the cost associated with the fire at Glen View Elementary School go far beyond the $1.5 million in damage in just one wing of the facility. There’s disruption, displacement and the time and energy expended on rebuilding plans.

The financial drain is only part of the cost. Imagine if a fire destroyed an entire school.

In addition to this kind of calamity, there is the chronic drain on the GUSD general fund of replacing broken windows, cleaning up graffiti, and repairing other “low-grade” items targeted by vandals.

We’d like the school district to tally all the costs involved with fixing vandalism at district facilities and assets, including employee time, and compare that to the cost of installing cameras at all schools.

Cameras on the Gilroy High School campus have been credited with reducing not only acts of vandalism, but also in reducing disruptive behavior during the school day. The camera system on that campus cost $85,000.

Given the $1.5 million price tag on the Glen View arson fire, it’s easy to see in hindsight that a camera system that might have deterred the arsonist would have been a wise investment.

Let’s not learn this expensive lesson twice. We can reduce the chronic drain of low-grade vandalism and likely prevent major problems like the Glen View arson fire with an investment in electronic surveillance.

It’s a responsible way to protect the scarce dollars the district needs to educate its students.

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