Concerns over school security and safety

The advantages and disadvantages of installing a surveillance system are aplenty, but most students and school authorities welcome their presence.

BIG BROTHER is watching you, even in schools these days. The presence of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras along school corridors is a sign that the institution is no longer a safe haven for students.

Due to several high profile child kidnapping cases that have occured around school vicinities, security within and outside the compounds of such institutions have become a huge concern for parents.

One case in point is of Dutch national Nayati Shamelin Moodliar who was kidnapped outside an international school in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. The images of two men pushing the boy into a car were captured from CCTV cameras from an apartment nearby. The case, in particular, proved the efficacy of the system.

The Education Ministry had in 2008 stated that schools which could afford the surveillance system, should install CCTV cameras at strategic areas to beef up security. This was soon after the disappearance of five-year-old Sharlinie Mohd Nashar who is still missing.

Even then, harm or negative activities can also come from within the school. Too often, we hear about gang fights, bullying, vandalism and incidences of theft committed by students within the school premises.

Keeping watch

With a population of over 2,800 students in his school in Negri Sembilan, secondary school principal Adam Nordin* admits that it is an uphill task to monitor the discipline of every student on its grounds. He had approved the installation of 24 CCTV cameras some years ago and another four were added on last year.

Each CCTV surveillance set comes with a DVR recorder, a television set and four infrared cameras while certain sets are equipped with eight cameras.

The entire surveillance system was fully funded by the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) and cost about RM14,000.

“The main reason for installing the CCTV cameras is for the security of the students and school property. The cameras are placed in areas like the computer lab which are ‘hotspots’ for would-be thieves,” says Adam.

The school has cameras panning all corners of the vicinity including the corridors, canteen, teachers’ parking lot and the main entrance of the school. The system’s control rooms are located in the offices of the principal and the senior assistant.

In the comfort of his office, Adam is able to view the rear entrance of the school which is bordered by a secondary forest.

by Kang Soon Chen.

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