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Sunday, April 05, 2009

I'm Worried and Maybe We All Should Be

What's happening in our country? Here's what I wrote to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and the Board:

From the NY Times:

"In the last month, 25 people, including 2 gunmen, were slain in three mass shootings, in North Carolina, California and Alabama."

This terrible trend is frightening because as the economy continues to slump and, for whatever reason, people are feeling tense and frustrated and life is getting more and more unsure for many of them.

So again I say to you - we need security cameras at Roosevelt High School. The police in Binghamton, NY, the site of the latest shooting, waited for hours because they had no idea what was going on inside. This would be the exact same scenario at RHS. You might get cell phone calls from inside the building but they would likely be confusing to police. The police could not know, with any accuracy, what was happening, who was hurt and where any shooter might be. If we had cameras, they likely COULD get into the building, go to the office and see what was happening. I don't know this for sure but I think it likely all the other comprehensive high schools (who DO have cameras) probably have a feed to the security office downtown.

And again I say to you - you do not want to be the ones staring down tv cameras. You do not want to be the ones to say "well, Facilities allowed a BDT to make the security decisions", and you especially do not want to be the ones to look grieving parents and an angry public in the face.

Because I am so aghast at what is happening, I'll be even more blunt. If something, anything happens at RHS , I will not protect the district in any way. I will make it known that the Board, the Superintendent, the head of district security, and the high school director all knew this was the situation at RHS.

If you think it can wait until the BTA (and it should darn sure be at least in the BTA and you should tell Facilities there is NO negotiating on this point), well, at least it's something even if it will then take years to get.

I know there's no money and you are worried about our district and the funding. But what is happening now is real. Roosevelt is one of the biggest public schools in the state, if not Seattle. You cannot put your head and sand and wish and pray nothing will happen. That is not good enough.

Please give this serious thought.


Of course, I ask this for RHS because it's the school I am currently involved in (and the only comprehensive school without cameras) but there needs to be an awareness about this issue all over the district. I get the vibe, from some past discussions, that many of you think this security worry is overstated but there are millions of guns in our country and most are likely not secured. School needs to be a safe place for kids to be.

I just can't wait and hope that nothing ever happens at RHS, I can't. Cameras won't fend off anyone but in a crisis could give police valuable information to shut it down.

I am currently not in Seattle but I read about the Graham murders online. The numbers of group murders happening are going on and on for whatever reason. What does this say about us as a nation? When will enough be enough?

8 comments:

Maureen said...

Melissa, About how much would it cost to install cameras at Roosevelt?

Jet City mom said...

A few years ago, Roosevelt had metal detectors- however I do not know if they were discontinued when the new building was opened- are they still being used?

anonymous said...

Do middle schools have cameras? It seems like larger middle schools like Eckstein may need them too (if they don't already have them).

Jet City mom said...

Depending on size of school- it may run about $15,000.


www.thenewstribune.com/312/story/48297.html


Video cameras at Gig Harbor High School were installed to catch trespassers, fights, harassment – the stuff that threatens safety at the campus of 1,700 students.

The surveillance system has also helped administrators find and discipline students who break rules, such as leaving trash on a lunch table.

But the high school says it will tighten its own rules on security cameras after two female students were filmed kissing and holding hands.

Keith Nelson, the high school’s dean of students for almost two years, shared the footage with the parents of one of the girls. They have since transferred her to a school outside the Peninsula School District, officials said....

Gig Harbor has used security cameras for almost eight years. They were installed after the school had a rash of small bathroom fires, Nelson said.

The school has a total of 16 cameras, inside and outside. It installed eight of the cameras last summer, an upgrade worth about $13,000.

Melissa Westbrook said...

It would cost around $100,000 (that's for about 30 cameras, installation, monitors, training). This was an estimate from a company who did a walk-thru by the request of the administration. Do I think it could be cheaper? Probably but I know Ballard replaced several of their cameras that were lesser quality on their own dime (it may have been through the Ballard Foundation or PTSA). The RHS Foundation has discussed helping but frankly, no Foundation or PTSA should be paying for security. First and foremost, safe schools are the district's job.

I have never seen metal detectors at Roosevelt since it reopened. Maybe that was at Lincoln.

I suspect that Aki may have cameras but I don't know.

Maureen said...

I wonder how much SPS is paying for the (4?) security staff at Garfield (in addition to cameras?)? Not that they don't need them, of course. The $100,000 would be a capitol cost, correct? So it wouldn't have to come out of the operating budget? Seems like this would be a perfect time to do this--contractors are underemployed--bids should be lower now than they have been recently.

seattle citizen said...

Yes, and the district now has (or will soon) about seven million from the sale of the University Heights building. This money has to go into capital funds, no? Security cameras would be a good way to spend that windfall.

Jet City mom said...

Re detectors at Roosevelt, a student who graduated in 2001, said they had them then. I believe that would have been in the previous Roosevelt building if my counting backwards is correct. I wonder what they do with the old fixtures?

I remember when Garfield sold their stuff, but it wasn't really advertised- SPS, opens and closes buildings so often we really need a permanent site for recycled goods like Boeing has.