With nearly 70 cameras set up at and the , students in both schools are now better protected from bullying and theft, and the facilities are safeguarded against vandalism, said Dave Cournoyer, the school department's Facilities Director.
The cameras serve as a "self-regulator," Cournoyer said, meaning students monitor their own actions, since they know they can easily be caught if they choose to violate school policies.
Cournoyer hosted JohnstonPatch on a recent tour of the Master Situation Monitor, or MSM, at Ferri Middle School, where TV screens show video from roughly 30 cameras in the building.
Using the cameras allows school officials to secure all common areas in the schools — hallways, cafeterias, and entrances and exits, for example — and has even helped in recovering stolen property, Cournoyer explained.
“A cell phone was stolen and recovered within the same day, thanks to some quick viewings of the security logs,” he said.
Last Halloween, some students stole a bowl of candy from the phys ed office at Ferri. After finding some students on video high-fiving and looking quite pleased — around the same time the candy was missing — school officials conducted a search of their lockers at found the missing candy.
“It was like a piñata,” Cournoyer recalled. “The candy poured right out on the floor."
Cournoyer also estimated that graffiti and general vandalism have been reduced by over 90 percent, thanks to the cameras that watch all interior spaces of the schools except locker rooms, classrooms and bathrooms.
And because of his work securing grant funding for the cameras, Cournoyer said the district has been able to maintain a high degree of safety at no extra cost.
“Students should feel safer, and now, do feel safer,” Cournoyer explained.