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CAMERAS OK'D FOR ENTRANCES AT 6 SCHOOLS

Cameras will be installed at the entrances of four West Seneca elementary schools and two middle schools as the Board of Education continues looking for ways to make district schools safer.

The funding for the six cameras -- $3,300 -- was approved at Monday's School Board meeting, during which the board also discussed a proposal to have some district employees wear photo identification tags.

The name-tag proposal would only affect the 25 to 40 school employees who travel from one school to another.

They include such employees as speech teachers and psychologists, said Superintendent Richard Sager.

The name-tag proposal will again be addressed at the board's Feb. 14 meeting.

Sager said the school district has not had any problems that led to the increased security moves being discussed, but he and other school officials said they hope to ensure problems don't erupt in the future.

"As Dr. Sager said, nothing has ever happened in our building, but let's make sure nothing ever happens," said board member James Lawson.

The decision by the seven-member board to purchase the six cameras was unanimous.

The cameras will be installed in the entrances to Allendale, Northwood, Winchester and East elementary schools as well as East and West middle schools.

The district's high schools have security guards on site and don't need the cameras, officials said. Two other elementary schools, Potters and Clinton Street, have glass entrances, so the cameras aren't necessary, Sager said. The district's seventh elementary school, West, already has a camera.

The cameras will allow staff in the school offices to see who is coming into the buildings at all times, officials said. The cameras will not tape-record people entering the buildings, and the main entrance to the buildings will remain open during the school day.

Videotaping and buzzing visitors into buildings with locked doors could cost an additional $70,000 to $100,000 annually, district officials said.

Before the board voted to approve buying the cameras, Lawson proposed mandatory sign-in desks for the district's two middle schools.

But the measure failed by a 4-3 vote, with those opposed saying such a policy should be left up to the discretion of the building principals.

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