In Chatham cameras are part of school vote

CHATHAM–The Board of Education held one last public information session May 1 before the proposed Capital Project before the public at the May 15 election.

While the majority of the proposal is for major repairs of the school buildings and grounds, a second proposition would fund the installation of security cameras in and around all five school buildings, including the Public Library and the bus garage.

Teri Conte, a former school board member and vice president was outspoken in her opposition to the camera proposal, saying she did not see the correlation between installing security cameras and keeping kids safe at school.

“I have a big problem with the security cameras,’ she said. “There are multiple doors and windows into each and every building in this district,” she said. “They are unalarmed, they are unmonitored and they are easily accessed. Any student inside our building can go to a door, open it, and let anybody in. That’s a problem, and that’s not been addressed. We should not have such easy access into our buildings as we do now. That is a security issue.”

Ms. Conte went on to say that her priority is to keep students safe that she believes getting cameras to watch what happens during the day and punish students later is a “huge waste of money.”

District Superintendent Salvatore DeAngelo has voiced his support for these added security measures over the past few months, citing cases in which cameras were used to vouch for someone’s innocence, or to settle disputes by proving who did what where.

He has repeatedly said that the cameras will in no way threaten the safety or privacy of students and staff, and that they are merely an added level of security for the school buildings. While the proposed cameras would not be monitored by a guard, they would record footage and store the images for anywhere from 14-30 days.

Election day is Tuesday, May 15, and voting will take place at the M.E.D. school from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Five seats on the Board of Education are up for election, with only four candidates vying for these positions: incumbents David O’Connor, Beth Hover, and Denise Barry, as well as Patricia Wilson. The fifth position may be filled by a write-in candidate.

Voters will vote on the Capital Project, members of the board and the $31.9-million budget proposal for the 2018-19 school year.

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