Saving One School at a Time

I’ve been on a kick lately thinking that schools need more security attention. I believe I feel so deeply about schools because they are filled with children who are learning to become the leaders, technicians and thought-leaders of tomorrow.

Children are filled with unlimited potential, but disturbing their thought processes is safety. There is not enough security to protect them in the classroom. This really bothers me, and I am not alone in my thoughts.

I have a good friend, Rob Shaw, who is the cofounder and CEO of Video Insight. He is one person who is putting his money to work to protect students. Shaw sees today’s students as tomorrow’s potential technology leaders.

“In this day and age of continued violent acts and threats on campuses, every school and college needs a video surveillance solution as part of an overall security plan,” Shaw said. “Despite the fact that video surveillance is essential, there continues to be schools and colleges out there that have absolutely no protection due to budget constraints. The Video Insight School Security Grant is designed to help those schools that lack funds to implement a video surveillance solution.”

Late last year, staff from Video Insight contacted me about a pilot program, School Security Grant. They announced a free program exclusively for campus customers: public or private K-12 institutions, college/community colleges, hospitals, state and local governments and corporate campus.

The goal was to provide as much as $20,000 worth of equipment to one lucky winner each month allowing an organization to evaluate an enterprise video surveillance solution without any obligation, for up to 180 days. At the end of the evaluation period, that organization has the option of purchasing the equipment at a special discount or simply returning it.

Pure and simple, schools need security, and if there isn’t a budget for surveillance, the potential for criminal acts just seems to increase.

This program was a huge success during its first month, then things took a right turn. Instead of announcing one winner for February, officials at Video Insight announced three winners. This is taking security to an entirely different level, and whether or not a school keeps the system in place after the 180 day trial period, it does give them the opportunity to see what a security system will do to protect its youngsters.

One of the February winners is Harrison School District Two, located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“The Harrison community is so fortunate to receive a grant from Video Insight to provide a top-ofthe- line security system for one of our schools,” said Andre D. Spencer, Harrison School superintendent. “While school districts around the nation are investing in and improving security practices, we also look to business partners like Video Insight who can provide high-quality equipment and training that allows us to focus on the most important goal: our students and their education.”

A second winner was the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, located in Yucaipa, Calif., and the third school district winner had yet to be named at press deadline.

This program is concerned with schools, campuses and government facilities that require video surveillance and all that goes along with that. Shaw described it best when he said that there are those out there who lack funding to make security a part of their daily life.

“We started this grant program in an effort to help schools and colleges that have limited or no video surveillance protection in place to combat the continued violent acts and threats they face on a day-to-day basis,” Shaw said. “We have been completely overwhelmed at the positive response and the number of applications we received.”

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, many schools are revisiting their security commitments and trying to find ways to add more security on campus. I love the idea that Shaw and his team have done something to make this work. When you figure in 48 Video Insight video management software licenses, 16 IP video surveillance cameras, one video encoder, 10 years of software upgrades, one year of the customer assurance program and product training, each winner is getting an unusual commitment, while enjoying the strong hand of security.

I applaud Shaw and his team for their commitment to campus security, in particular, security at schools. His commitment goes far beyond the gift of security equipment and the financial investment. He is truly concerned about this country’s children and the brand of education they deserve.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Security Today.

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