Foothill Technology High School

Opinion: Police should be allowed to wear a body cam everywhere, including schools

Opinion writer Emma Kolesnik believes that the recent implementation of body cams on police while on school campuses is justified. Credit: Jenny Chang/The Foothill Dragon Press
Opinion writer Emma Kolesnik believes that the recent implementation of body cameras on police while on school campuses is justified. Credit: Jenny Chang/The Foothill Dragon Press.

 

With smartphones as a key part of most young people’s everyday lives, it sometimes seems as if we have no privacy left. Anything we do can be recorded and put onto Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

So why would we care if police officers occasionally record us? A video of us in public record could never be nearly as damning to a reputation as one taken by our friends and posted on YouTube.

As part of the effect of recent shootings of unarmed suspects by police, there has been a large push for all police to wear body cameras. People hope that these video cameras will help curb police brutality and keep them in check of their actions.

Many of the same advocates for the body cams are now advocating against them in schools. They argue that the right for student privacy outweighs any positive effects on police behavior in schools.

As of Sept. 16, police officers in the Ventura Police Department now wear body cams when on Ventura Unified campuses.

Feel differently? Read CJ Haberbush’s Opinion article, “Police body cameras in school are a sacrifice of rights.”

While many people will disagree with the new change, particularly students at schools that have no video cameras, there are many details in the new practice that get passed by. For example, the body cams will not constantly be recording. They are only on when something is being investigated or the police are interacting with a person.

Our every move will not be recorded, and it most certainly will not be stored. The storage on the cameras is minimal, so most footage will be deleted after a few months.

The benefits of police body cams are huge. The reason why they are necessary at all times has a lot to do with the power in unity and consistency. When there are too many exceptions to a rule, it becomes easy to break that rule. If police are not allowed to use body cams in some designated areas, then the whole movement becomes less powerful and influential.

As Americans, we do not live in a private world. With constant access to the internet and recording devices, almost anything and everything we do could potentially be broadcasted. The issue of student privacy seems to be rather dated.

Instead of privacy, we should be concerned with the safety of both police and students. Police wearing body cams protects students. It will never be a “he said, she said” situation when something is on camera. Students will be protected not only from police brutality, but also from mean pranks of other students who may otherwise not be punished by the school.

Recently there have been no police shootings on high school campuses, there easily could be.

There have been police shootings on college campuses. In some circumstances the body cam was shown to be crucial in getting justice for the student. For example, we can look at a University of Cincinnati police officer who murdered a student around a half-mile off campus. The initial police report was contradicted by the body cam footage that was taken. Without the footage, there would have been nothing to contradict what the police officer said.

We need to make sure that police officers are held accountable 100% of the time they are on duty. The thing we should be worried about is safety, not privacy.

While most circumstances may not be this extreme, it just proves how important body cameras are, even on school campuses. Violence can happen anywhere.

Police are placed on school campuses to protect and stop violence. However, power and authority can change a person’s actions at times. There always needs to be precautions in place to ensure the worst doesn’t happen.

-Emma Kolesnik

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