Biloxi Schools' Web Cameras Focus Of National Story - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/11/03

Biloxi Schools' Web Cameras Focus Of National Story

Every move by a Biloxi student or a Biloxi teacher is recorded by an eye in the sky. Michel Seventh Grade principal Pam Manners is one of the people with access to the web cameras. "Initially, you're thinking oh my goodness, because you're being watched," she said. "But then you forget, you're a professional, the teachers are professionals, the students are students. We're all going about the business of education."

Just about every classroom has a web camera hidden under glass. For the last three years, principals have used the camera as a tool to help them monitor teacher performance and student response. "They like it," Manners said of her teachers. "They're so used to it. I'm so used to it. I don't think any of them think about it."

Debbie Rogers is one of those teachers. She supports the web camera technology. And she doesn't consider it an invasion of privacy. "No," Rogers said, "because as long as you're doing your job and you're doing what you're supposed to, that's all they expect."

In a USA Today story about the web cameras, the invasion of privacy concern was mentioned by privacy advocates. Dr. Drawdy said it was no different than a camera at a grocery store or a casino. "As I said ours has strictly been built around trying to provide safety within our school system," the superintendent said. "But also trying to prevent things from occurring before we have to cure them."

Dr. Drawdy considers the web cameras are nothing more than a deterrent. He said they don't prevent trouble all the time. They simply record what's taking place at a Biloxi school.  And so far, he hasn't heard any complaints about the internet technology.

by Brad Kessie

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