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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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‘Limited use of cameras’

To The Editor:

This letter was sent to the Harwood Union School Board directors.

Dear Harwood Union School Board Members:

Thank you for reaching out to the community for input on the use of surveillance cameras within the school. I am writing as a resident of Waitsfield and parent of one current and one former Harwood High School student.

I would like to express my support for David Goodman's recommended limitation of the use of the cameras within the school to after 4:30 p.m.

I believe part of why we may be having more issues of discipline, bullying, vandalism, etc. in the past 18 months may stem from the sense of the school being increasingly in "lockdown" and mistrustful of its students, staff and community (as evident in the badges, cameras, buzzers, restrictions on visitors, etc.). I have heard this from many students and have experienced this feeling myself. We live in strange times. On the other hand, we do not need to be ruled by fear and suspicion.

I think that the single most important deterrent to inappropriate behavior is a swift and fair (evenhanded) response to it, regardless of who the students (or perpetrators) are. A sense of double-standards for behavior depending on students' backgrounds will undermine climate more than anything and there were questions about this last year. Cameras will help identity perpetrators but the single most important identifier will be other students themselves. I am troubled by the fact that no one has been found responsible for the water vandalism. I'm sure at least one student or community member knows something and, if no one is coming forward, then trust in the school staff is clearly not uniform among the school and/or community. This should be of concern, more than "technical" solutions like cameras.

I appreciate the opportunity to share these views and look forward to the board's discussion of this matter.

Anne Bordonaro


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