School district employs new equipment to watch over students

HARLINGEN — Don’t even think about walking anonymously into any of Harlingen’s elementary schools.

It’s not going to happen.

The elementary campuses, all 17 of them, already have locking systems. Soon they’ll all have new video surveillance systems aimed at hallways, breezeways, entrances, gyms, playgrounds — anywhere principals feel they should be placed.

Traci Gonzalez, principal at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary, said she and other principals were shown blueprints of their schools so they could indicate where they wanted cameras placed.

“The first thing we took into consideration was student safety,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve put mine in the hallways, so they view hallways, they can view entry and exit doors, cafeteria, gymnasium, the front of the building where we have pickup.”

The Harlingen School Board voted early last week to award a contract to Calence Physical Security Solutions. The contract agrees to pay the company $651,957 to install new video surveillance systems at all 17 of the district’s elementary schools. The district is paying for the system with extra money accrued through the recent 10-cent property tax increase. Voters narrowly approved the tax increase through the Tax Ratification Election, TRE, last fall.

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