Big brother is watching and he sees everything

New security cameras bring cheers, jeers


Tina Dang

Security Specialist Don Tuggle examines watches students over the school’s new surveillance system. Cameras around the campus allow the specialists to see multiple views of the school.

Myla Hightower and Ryshun Sampson

Cleveland students can breathe a bit easier with the installation of a new security camera system. With thefts on the rise and vandalism at an all-time high, the school struggled to identify the culprits because of the limited amount of working surveillance. Security specialist Don Tuggle demanded a change, but it wouldn’t happen overnight.

An investigation revealed that the man put in charge of the overhaul was actually embezzling money intended to upgrade the school’s security system. Cleveland was left with a handful of working cameras. A new system was finally installed over the summer. There are now over 100 cameras around the school, including the parking lot and alongside the building. Senior Kara Johnson likes the improved security.

“They make me feel safer,” Johnson said. “Last year, students felt like they could do whatever they wanted because everyone knew the cameras weren’t functional.” Johnson is also reassured by the administration spending money on security.

“It shows they care; administrators want to ensure our safety.”

Johnson is hopeful the new cameras will bring down crime around school – referencing last year’s high number of thefts and inappropriate activities taking place on campus.

“Now all those little nasties messing around in the stairwells have nowhere to hide,” quips Johnson.

Not all of the students are on board with the cameras. Some believe it’s an invasion of privacy while others question the amount of money spent. Sophomore Murphy Cerezo Hernandez believes the cameras reveal a lack of faith in the students from the faculty.

“It feels like the administrators don’t trust us,” Cerezo Hernandez said. Being constantly monitored makes her feel uncomfortable at school, which she said distracts from her learning. Cerezo Hernandez also questions the spending decisions made by administration.

“My teachers have to pay for essential classroom supplies out of their own pockets. This is unacceptable.”

She considers putting money towards fancy new cameras a waste of money, especially when it could be spent taking financial stress off of teachers. Senior Yonas Kidanemariam is ambivalent towards the new cameras.

“I get why we needed new ones,” he said. “I mean that whole mess in the bathroom last year was ridiculous. Someone should’ve gotten caught for that.”

Kidanemariam was referring to multiple incidents in the boys’ bathroom last year where excrement was deliberately smeared all over the walls. Although he believes functioning cameras would have helped security catch the culprits, Kidanemariam thinks the new cameras are a bit invasive.

“Having the feeling of constantly being watched makes it a little hard to be focused at school. I don’t feel like I have a lot of privacy.”

While the locations of some of the cameras aren’t as obvious as others, Tuggle warns there is nothing he can’t see.

“It’s like I have eyes everywhere.”