Keeping Kids Safe

HARLINGEN — It seems harmless enough, just a glass globe mounted outside the school.

However, that glass globe has an eye which sees everything moving near its post in front of Zavala Elementary.

The images entering the camera in the globe pass through cables which serve as sort of an optic nerve. That pathway carries those images to the server.

There those images are stored like memories from the cameras — all 10 of them.

And those memories aren’t just daydreams. They come in the quiet hours when people think the darkness protects them while they sneak in and steal vital materials from the children.

Not on my watch, says the camera, now standing guard like a sentinel, protecting children, teachers and property.

Workers are laboring feverishly in the August heat to install cameras, cabling, servers, monitors and other equipment in the Harlingen school district’s 17 elementary schools.

Each school is receiving 10 cameras and one video server with software and programming.

Schools are also receiving one rackmount and one screen monitor.

The monitor will be placed in the reception area where clerical staff and the principal can see it.

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-10 is the number of cameras each campus will receive.

-1 video server with software and programming to store footage.

-1 screen monitor so a viewer such as the principal can see the view from all 10 cameras.

– 1 rackmount on which servers can be mounted.

– Cabling

– Cost per campus: About $35,176

– Total cost for all 17 elementary schools: $598,000

Areas of surveillance:

– Hallways

– Breezeways

– Entrances

– Gyms

– Cafeterias

– Bus loading areas

– Areas were children are dropped off and picked up.

– Playgrounds

Reasons for surveillance:

– Ensuring children are staying where they’re supposed to be

– Retaining footage of any incidents between students for resolution

– Preventing random intruders

– Allowing authorities to view a situation from a remote location

– Having a record of attempts by non-custodial parents to take the child.

– Solving burglaries.