The Nanuet School District is looking into security enhancements for next year, and one area school officials are looking at specifically are upgrades in security cameras.
At a meeting last month, Superintendent Mark McNeill said the system will be upgraded to a state-of-the-art digital recording system. At Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, McNeil talked more about the upgrade, noting the current system is an analog system that was installed about seven years ago.
“The cameras are outdated. The resolution on them is not very impressive,” he said. “Cameras are a part of our world and we certainly need them here to protect ourselves and to protect our children.”
The money for the camera upgrade would come from the capital project fund.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board hosted a presentation by A + Technology President David Antar on what type of security upgrades his company could provide for the school district. Antar said his company has worked with many districts in the state, and showed recent news reports from ABC News and News 12 detailing systems they’ve installed in other schools. A + is based out of Bay Shore on Long Island.
Antar spoke to the board and meeting attendees about the variety of positives that come from upgraded security cameras.
“Very often, camera systems can help to save money for school districts, which is an important piece,” he said. “But they also do a lot of things to stop bullying. They help kids to learn. For most parents, the number one concern is that the students are safe from the time that they leave home until they get back.”
He said one way they can help save money is they cut down on vandalism because of the ability to identify those who commit the acts. This way, they not only have an increased chance of finding that person and making him or her pay for the repairs, but if people are caught vandalizing school property, it should cut down on the actual act of vandalisms once people see they can get caught.
Antar also said the cameras can be pulled up remotely, which have a number of benefits as well. He said if there is an emergency, a school official could pull up a live feed of the cameras on an iPad or cell phone to give to first responders so they can see what they’ll be walking into before getting there.
“If you can get first responders here quickly with actionable information, that’s what makes all the difference in doing a proper security system, and that’s what we support,” Antar said. “We take this very seriously.”
During the meeting, he pulled up a live feed from one of his clients, City College of New York, which granted him permission to show it at the meeting. Antar showed a feed from a student lobby, which was empty given that it was after 9 p.m. already. But he pulled up a feed from the waiting room of an office on campus from earlier Tuesday morning to show the board and meeting attendees how crisp and fluid the high-definition video is from the cameras.
Antar also showed off a few smaller items his company has, including a microphone he used during his presentation. The microphone wasn’t connected to anything, and can be used by teachers in the classroom to ensure students throughout the room can hear clearly.
“We take that and add a panic button to that audio system that the teacher’s using, so during an emergency that breaks out in the classroom, they can push this button and the audio can be heard in the principal’s office or in superintendent’s office,” he said. “It’s a dual purpose function.”
He added that a lot of items his company has can be used for safety as well as education. Antar said cameras in the parking lots can be checked from home by administrators to see things like snow accumulation or if the parking lot has been plowed after a storm. They can also use cameras to create time lapse videos of projects, as well as to tape sporting events.
“We even integrate things into the classroom that can take cameras in a classroom and they’re used for instructional purposes,” he said. “They can do lecture capture recording of sessions that can take care of homeschooled students and start to link them. But, during an emergency that same camera can have a dual purpose and become part of an emergency system if it was necessary, but it’s completely under the teacher’s control.”