The Intelligent Security Series: Classroom Surveillance

Cameras are installed in school building hallways, around campus perimeters, and even on board school buses – but they’re still not typically seen in the classroom. For the last several years there have been passionate debates around the need for heightened security measures at school campuses and the use of security cameras inside classrooms. Although some see cameras in the classroom as potentially invasive, a majority see classroom security as an absolute necessity. As a result, much thought and planning has taken place among administrators, parents and public safety officials to ensure any new safety measures provide the necessary security needed while also protecting the privacy of students and staff. At this year’s ISC West expo, we are introducing a new camera designed with very unique privacy features that are well suited for a classroom environment (more on that later) and we look forward to the feedback from our partners.

According to a 2013 Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, “During the 2009–10 school year, 85 percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to an estimated 1.9 million crimes. This figure translates to a rate of approximately 40 crimes per 1,000 students enrolled in 2009–10.” Many schools, like the Miramonte Elementary School of Los Angeles, are strongly considering security cameras in classrooms, joining other early adopters, like Atlanta’s Ron Clark Academy.


Co-founder, executive director and language arts instructor Kim Bearden at Ron Clark Academy

In the case of Ron Clark Academy, the school’s directors were early adopters of our Classroom Audio and Security Alert System to provide a secure environment for teachers and students to communicate effectively. One of the most useful features of the system is a discreet “panic button” element that teachers can wear and keep near their desks. In the case of an emergency, instructors can alert administrators to warn other instructors or call authorities, and trigger the microphone and cameras to begin recording. The scene is automatically recorded while streaming data is simultaneously sent to a monitoring station which can send email blasts to first responders, avoiding a distracting scene to students. Another advanced feature is the system’s ability to trigger location-specific alarms and audio/video feeds regardless of whether the teacher is in his or her own classroom, another teacher’s classroom, a hallway or other common area. This allows teachers and administrators to stay in one place and avoid problem areas.

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The Panasonic WV-SF488E “eyelid” camera

The new Privacy Ready camera (WV-SF488) is the latest addition to our popular 360° camera line and is ideal for classroom security, delivering 1080p HD image quality and two-way audio capabilities. These features are especially valuable and convenient for administrators when conducting scheduled classroom evaluations, saving the time and potential interruption of entering the classroom to record a learning session. The “eyelid” also helps teachers and students maintain their privacy and manage their classrooms effectively while giving them the confidence of a functional security system in case of emergency.

With this year’s ISC West convention upon us, we anticipate major conversations around how schools are gravitating towards security systems and the types of software they are using to protect classroom property, students and staff. For more information on classroom security systems and software, including the new Privacy Ready (WV-SF488) camera, please stop by our booth (#14039) at ISC West 2015.

What are you looking forward to at ISC West 2015? Stop by booth #14039 and let us know starting Wednesday, April 15, or tweet us at @PanasonicForBiz with the hashtag #ISCWest2015.