ABSECON — Holy Spirit High School added 16 cameras to its security arsenal over the winter recess to help keep a better eye on the campus.
With a total of 32 cameras now installed, the school has completed the security upgrade project it started during the 2016-2017 school year.
“Now we have every hallway covered,” building and grounds Director Steve Normane said.
“Every student’s locker is covered, the gym, everything back there is covered. So, if something happens — if something goes missing, there’s an incident in our building — it will be on camera in or out of the building.”
The school purchased the $23,250 worth of upgrades, which also included video intercom and door access control, from Atlantic Coast Alarm with nonpublic school security aid from the state Department of Education.
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As part of the state’s Nonpublic School Security Program, nonpublic schools can receive funding to acquire security services, equipment or technology for the purpose of ensuring a safe environment.
“It’s the feeling of being secure,” Normane said. “For our employees, for our students, you want to feel secure in the world we live in today. The more upgrades and technology we can use to make our school safe the better. It just adds to the overall sense of happiness and security of our building.”
Principal Susan Dennen said she believes the cameras will record potential wrongdoing and also work as a deterrent.
“The goal is not to be Big Brother at all; in fact, just the opposite,” she said.
“The goal is to keep everybody honest, and I mean that in the broadest sense, to keep everybody playing by the rules and all of that, but it can also be a huge help if something does go wrong. We take them for their value at both ends of the situation.”
The Absecon Police Department was able to identify five youths who had vandalized parts of the school including the gym and the football stadium Sept. 1 with the help of cameras the school already had.
Normane said that the school had already planned to install more cameras before the vandalism, but the incident did influence how the security funding would be allocated.
“The addition of 16 more can only help to solve that kind of stuff in the future and hopefully prevent it once people know they’re on camera when they’re on our property. It should decrease the desire to do something,” Normane said.