BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI — With an eye on security, safety and better teaching, Bangor Township Schools is taking steps to install teacher-controlled video cameras in 29 classrooms in the district — 23 at Bangor Central Elementary school, and six at Bangor John Glenn High School.
Set to be operational by April, Superintendent Matt Schmidt says that although the new technology was primarily sought as a security measure, it offers the school more than just peace of mind.
“The safety is what caught our attention. Anything we can do to cut down on response time and save time is paramount for us. As we researched it and began to see the instructional benefits for our students and our teachers, we knew we had to have it.”
Those benefits include giving teachers a chance to watch and improve their own lessons.
“I can go in prior to my school day starting, and I can set that camera to record my lessons, so afterwards, if I want to go back and review and adjust my instruction, I can do that,” Schmidt said. “It’s also going to extend our learning opportunities. If we have a kid who’s out with mono, a teacher can tape a lesson and put it online.”
Bangor Township Schools Superintendent Matt Schmidt (Courtesy)
A parent meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4, in the Central Elementary gymnasium to discuss the security system.
“I guess to calm fears, it obviously improves safety and improves instruction, and those are the two things we’re charged with in schools,” Schmidt said. “I would think parents would advocate it, that’s what I would hope for.”
The SAFE System, developed by Bluffdale, Utah-based Audio Enhancement, features a classroom camera that can be activated in case of an emergency through a pendant worn by a teacher. The pendant can also relay an emergency signal to an indicator in the school’s main office. For police and fire responders, the system pinpoints from where a call was made on a map of the school, and can also provide a video feed.
Bay County 911 Director Chris Izworski said if the system is able to transmit across the Internet, his staff would be able to radio information to first responders as it’s received downtown.