XENIA — Every school in the Xenia Community School District now has security cameras inside and out.
With the completion of a project that begin in the fall at Warner Middle School and Xenia High School, the district has 276 cameras that can be accessed in the school and via an app on computer, smart phone or tablet.
Eighty-seven cameras were installed in the high school and 48 at Warner. The district also added eight to the Xenia Preschool building, formerly known as Central Middle School. The total cost was $196,460.
“When we built the elementary buildings (cameras were) part of the project,” said Christy Fielding, assistant superintendent of business operations. “The high school has had security cameras in the building in the past. (But) that system was becoming obsolete. We needed to start looking at a newer system as well as some of the cameras. They were all analog cameras.”
The need for cameras at Warner arose when sixth graders were moved from Central Middle School into the seventh- and eighth-grade building this fall.
“We felt like we needed to have some security measures in place,” Fielding said.
The cameras give officials 100 percent coverage of the hallways, cafeterias and gymnasiums and full coverage of stairwells in the high school. There are no cameras in classrooms or offices.
“We focused the location of the cameras based on need within the building,” Fielding said.
Surveillance videos are kept for 21 days, Fielding said, but that can be adjusted. Videos can also be downloaded off the server.
Not everyone has access to the cameras. Building administrators and secretaries can view the cameras within their building. And there is a staff member at the high school and middle school who monitors the video feed.
Building administrators and a few other employees can access the video feeds outside their particular school utilizing an app for their computer or other personal device. Only Fielding, maintenance and custodian supervisors, and Xenia police can access every camera from every building.
Teachers and administrators have embraced the eye in the sky.
“It makes it easier for us to quickly investigate a situation,” said Warner Principal John Stekli. “We often go back and use the cameras. I think what it does is clarify. It adds to the building safety.”
Warner teacher Jenny Allex said there have been fights in the halls that were quickly sorted out because of the surveillance.
“I do feel safer with the cameras in the hallways,” she said.
Stekli added that if there is a situation where there is a student missing, the video should show the student in the hallway and follow him or her to whatever door they may have gone in or left the building through.
No matter the situation, it can be resolved a lot easier.
“The cameras don’t lie,” said Warner teacher Al Bianco.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.
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