Mississippi School District Selects Axis Network Cameras To Protect Students, Facilities

Axis Communications recently announced that Mississippi’s Pass Christian School District is using its network cameras to enhance the security and safety of its public school students and facilities.

Four years ago, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 85 percent of Pass Christian's homes and businesses and all but one of its four schools (which was heavily damaged). Despite formidable challenges, -- including the fact that about 2/3 of its students qualify for free lunches, many students are still living in temporary housing and some are still learning in damaged or temporary structures -- the district has earned the distinction of being in the top 1 percent of the 152 school districts in the state’s standardized testing program.

“We have highly dedicated teachers and hard working, non-disruptive children as indicated by our state test performance, so implementing a network video system isn’t about reducing a problem situation,” said Dr. Teresa Burton, director of technology for Pass Christian School District. “We believe in being proactive and providing a deterrent to crime. For example, following Katrina, we were assisted by volunteers from across the country, who came to help rebuild homes and our schools. It became clear that we often had difficulty identifying individuals on our sites. With Axis network cameras, we will be able to see clearly who is on school grounds and immediately spot any problems that could emerge.”

Pass Christian School District is comprised of two elementary schools, a middle school and high school, which serve about 1,500 students, some 500 fewer than before Katrina’s 30-foot waves ravaged homes as well as its schools and central school office.

As part of reconstruction, the school district saw an opportunity to install a network video system and so contracted with IP solutions provider CameraWATCH Technologies, which has years of experience in implementing network-based surveillance systems in schools. Beyond installing Axis network cameras, CameraWATCH is also working with the district to implement Genetec’s Omnicast network video surveillance security solution as well as its Synergis IP access control solution.

About 150 Axis network cameras will be deployed inside and outside of the four schools, the central office and a daycare center being built through a grant from Chevron. These include fixed dome and fixed cameras, both in VGA and megapixel resolution. Almost 100 of these are being installed in the middle school and one of the elementary schools that share a campus to cover every classroom, hallways, common areas, the cafeteria, outdoor areas, etc.

To provide extra security at the daycare center, which serves babies as young as six-week's old, CameraWATCH is providing Genetec's integrated Omnicast and Synergis IP solutions so that individuals using a card to access the building are also being filmed. If a cancelled card is used, then an alert with the photograph of the individual is sent to the district office. The setup also enables the district to identify unauthorized individuals entering with a valid card.

With the new Axis network video system, authorized individuals from any PC will be able to spot trouble areas. The network cameras also provide high resolution, so that using outdoor-mounted equipment, authorities can read the license plates of vehicles entering and leaving the area to ensure they are authorized. In addition, pan/tilt/zoom capabilities will enable administrators to quickly zero in on areas should problems arise.

Because of the teaching excellence demonstrated at Pass Christian’s schools, future plans may also include using the Axis network cameras to capture successful teachers in action so that others may learn from their teaching styles.

“We applaud the Pass Christian School District for overcoming high hurdles to achieve excellence,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications. “And we appreciate the fact that Axis network cameras are being trusted to help maintain safety for a population all too familiar with danger.”

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