Security cameras will be

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2000

placed in county schools


Staff Writer

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Oct. 16, 2000 10 PM

Goshen High School and Pike County High School will be receiving part of the $1.3 million in state dollars for school security.

A total of 135 schools throughout Alabama will be getting funding from the Private Eyes Education Program, which provides funding for video camera surveillance.

When applying for the funds, schools had to show a commitment by supplying a surveillance plan and the required 20 percent match. Up to $10,000 per school was available and priority was given to those schools that demonstrated the most need by providing incident reports.

Both of the Pike County high schools will receive $10,000 apiece.

Mark Bazzell, assistant superintendent of the Pike County Schools, was pleased to hear the school system had been awarded the grants.

"We’re excited about what this grant will do for us," Bazzell said just after learning about the grant award. "It was a competitive process."

He said the school system spent part of August and September gathering data and created graphs and charts illustrating the schools’ need for surveillance equipment. He said neither school has had an unusual number of incidents reported in recent years.

But, with some ideas from the Dothan and Eufaula City School systems, Pike County was able to devise a grant application that earned them a total of $20,000.

That money, combined with Children First funds will give the school system about $30,000 to install the equipment.

Bazzell said plans are to install 16 cameras ­ inside and outside ­ at each campus.

Another interesting feature of Pike County’s plan will allow administrators and law enforcement officers to access the campuses via the Internet with a login code.

"Our concerns over the past couple of years mirror the concerns we’ve had the past 10 years," Bazzell said of ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman said video cameras in schools are expected to help enhance school disciplinary procedures already in place, such as a school safety hotline, evaluations of procedures relating to school safety and discipline, training for implementation of alternative educational programs, training to recognize discipline problems and implementation of truancy laws.

"Parents are concerned about the rising tide of school violence," Siegelman said. "As a parent, and as governor, I am committed to providing the safest school environment possible.

Siegelman said he was "pleased" to provide the funding he hopes will provide "further safety measures" on campuses.

"Improved school safety and reduced discipline problems are top priorities in improving overall school quality," said State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson. "The governor’s Private Eyes Education Program allows schools to address this need in a very unique and productive way."

During the 1998-99 school year, there were 15,816 school violence incidents reported in Alabama schools.