Earlier this year, the New York State Educational Department reported that there were a record-high 5,875 reported incidents of bullying, harassment, and discrimination during the 2017-18 academic year. As noted recently in the New York Post, this was more than three times as many as the 1,344 incidents recorded by the agency in 2013-14.
These alarming statistics are prompting administrators, teachers, and concerned parents to proactively search for initiatives that aid in bullying prevention. While there are many traditional approaches that aim to stop bullying, improve school safety, and foster inclusivity within students, many of those methods aren’t enforceable or scalable.
Better Surveillance, Better School Safety
While school administrators have the will to improve overall school safety, they require a framework to put preventative measures into action. This is where surveillance technology plays a critical role in providing a methodical, scalable way to monitor student behavior.
Top 5 Benefits of Video Surveillance in Schools:
Support Local Authorities in Risk Assessment and Mitigation
Preventative Measure to Reduce Bullying Incidents
Deter Vandalism and Theft on Campus
Provide Peace of Mind for Faculty and Parents
Eliminate Unauthorized Intruders from Entering School
While the benefits and use cases of school surveillance vary, the faculty at Zionsville Community High School leverage security cameras on campus for two primary reasons: to streamline incident resolution and to successfully reduce blindspots on campus.
Capturing Footage for Incident Resolution
Increasing visibility of activities onsite with security cameras not only enables the objective resolution of situations, it also allows officials to mitigate concerns before diving into lengthy investigations.
In a recent incident at Zionsville Community High School, administrators feared there may have been an active shooter situation in the vicinity of school grounds. During such a high-stakes situation, the team had to act fast and assess the situation without prematurely disrupting the peace of students and parents.
With the aid of Verkada’s smart camera system, the Zionsville team was able to get to the core of the situation and defuse the threat in a matter of moments. By using smart-filters to trace back to the exact date, time and area of concern, they located and shared footage with local authorities to further investigate. The highly-efficient process of incident resolution allowed the misinterpreted situation to be triaged before it was escalated unnecessarily. Had there not been an operational camera system in place at the time, the impact of such an event would have affected not only students and teachers, but parents and the community as well.
Beyond critical scenarios, video surveillance solutions also act as a resource that aids in the prevention of student conflict. As Zionsville Assistant Principal Kristen Alderman says, "If an incident happens in the hallway and we're really curious to know what happened — if the two sides of the stories aren't aligning very well — we can watch it on camera to determine who was the aggressor."
The clear benefits of having footage available for review allows teachers and faculty to have a better handle on student safety across campus.
Increase Surveillance Coverage to Reduce Blindspots
Bullying, vandalism, and theft are most likely to occur in campus blindspots, where school authorities aren’t actively present and video surveillance isn’t available. Not only do blindspots impact a student’s sense of safety on campus, they also encourage continued misdemeanors if perpetrators aren’t identified and if consequences aren’t enforced.
By utilizing a smart video surveillance solution that overlays floor plans across the campus perimeter, it’s simple for local authorities to pinpoint exactly where coverage is lacking. Critical areas, such as non-primary exits on campus, parking lots, and other open areas such as stadiums, are commonly overlooked and it isn’t until a situation occurs that these blindspots are brought to light. By proactively minimizing campus blindspots, it’s easy for faculty to identify problematic areas that should be monitored as a precautionary measure.
Officer Josh Chapman, School Resource Officer of the Zionsville community, is well aware of how catastrophic a missed blindspot can be, which is why he relies on Verkada’s security camera system to maintain campus and student safety. "I can see all of the buildings at once from my computer, and I can remotely manage and share footage immediately, should I need to,” Chapman says. “Whether it's just observing a behavior that happened or actually using it for criminal or legal purposes, I’m confident in the coverage the system provides."
Prioritize School Safety with Verkada
Ensuring the safety of campus across America is an initiative that requires continued dedication from teachers and faculty, as well as reinforcements that guide student behaviors. With the aid of smart surveillance technology, the hope is that school safety continues to improve and students are provided with optimal learning environments.
If you’d like to join thousands of districts and schools that rely on the simplicity and scalability of Verkada’s plug-and-play security camera solution, request a free trial today.