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Friday, July 5, 2013 - Page updated at 12:30 p.m.

Everett schools pass new video surveillance rules


The Associated Press

The Everett School Board has approved new video surveillance rules before cameras are installed in all its schools during the next school year.

About 400 to 600 digital security cameras will monitor all public areas in and around the schools, except in places where people expect privacy, such as restrooms and locker rooms, The Herald ( http://is.gd/lZDHQI) reported in Thursday's newspaper.

The new rules also require signs to be posted on school property disclosing the presence of video cameras.

The video images will be viewed at a central location in the data center of the district's new administration building.

A new building repair and technology levy is paying for the system.

Only district employees, school administrators and law enforcement will be able to log in to the system to view digital images. The goal is to allow quick response to specific security or safety issues, school officials said.

The security camera surveillance rules were approved by school board on Tuesday evening on at 2-1 vote. Jeff Russell, school board president, and board member Carol Andrews voted yes, while board member Ed Petersen voted against the proposal. Board members Pam LeSesne and Jessica Olson were absent.

Petersen asked for a delay in approving the guidelines.

The public needs "answers and information," he said. "To go ahead and make a decision before they have answers and information is at risk of communicating that we don't care what they think."

Russell said he felt that the district is "able to communicate that we take the security of our students and staff that much more seriously, particularly after Sandy Hook."

The cameras also will provide more safety for staff who work late, he said.

The district now has 82 older video-monitoring cameras installed in school hallways and other public areas, most in middle school and high schools.

Cameras previously were installed on many of the school district's buses.

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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

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