For the next five weeks, I will be inviting our students, staff, and school community to share with me their thoughts on having cameras inside our building.
Fairfax High School would like to install cameras in our school to support having a safe and secure environment. We propose to have cameras installed to cover our cafeteria plus additional cameras for five or six high traffic areas such as our atrium, commons and hallway intersections. Cameras have already been approved at Lake Braddock, Lee, Mt. Vernon, and West Springfield High Schools, and will likely be installed there in the coming weeks.
The total approximate cost for installation at our school is $30,000. This cost includes infrastructure for camera installation that the school system plans to pay, leaving our local school portion to be about $24,000. This cost is a rough estimate, and we expect that amount to be within 10-20% of the actual cost. A final estimate will be requested from the vendor once permission is granted to move forward. We will not use any appropriated school funds to install interior cameras. We will pay for the cameras using credits accumulated when the community uses our building. Frequently asked questions about installing interior cameras in Fairfax County schools can be seen here.
During the next thirty-five days, we will be actively seeking input from our students, our faculty, and our community. I will be meeting with our Student Leadership and journalism classes during this period of time and I will also have conversations with individual students about this topic over this timeframe. We will use our Faculty Advisory Committee and faculty meetings to share information with our faculty and gauge their support or opposition.
There will be two formal opportunities for any parents and community members who would like to come out to discuss interior cameras, share their thoughts, and ask questions. One opportunity will be at our October PTSA meeting, which will take place in our Library at 7:00 p.m. on October 9.
Interior cameras will also be the topic for conversation next Friday morning at the Principalís Coffee in our Library from 7:30-8:30 a.m. For planning purposes, please email Laura Beatty at email@example.com by Wednesday, October 3 if you plan to attend.
I hope many of you will come out and share in the dialogue! If you are unable to attend the meeting, emails are certainly welcome as well to voice support or opposition to our plan and to ask questions. If you want to register an opinion on this matter, please send emails directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then compile all of the input collected from students, staff, and community members between now and Friday, November 2. Should there be sufficient support for installing interior cameras, I will request permission from Cluster VII Assistant Superintendent Linda Burke to move forward on installation.