Insurance grant helps Mount Greylock High School add security cameras


WILLIAMSTOWN — With some six dozen exterior doors, Mount Greylock Regional High School faces a significant security challenge.

That task was made a bit easier with the help of a $5,000 loss control grant from the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association.

The grant, issued last fall and announced this month, funded the installation of additional security cameras in the school, which already has benefitted from the surveillance. An initial set of cameras was installed in 2012.

"Most of the school is covered," said Assistant Principal Jacob N. Schutz. "Cameras are another layer of safety and security, though they are not a catch-all. This adds to our current systems in place to keep faculty, staff and students safe."

Each camera costs around $300 or $400, with installation and software included in the price. The new cameras bought are currently in place protecting the faculty, staff, and students of Mount Greylock.

And they have proven to be effective.

"We actually had a burglary in which the cameras helped the police make an arrest," Schutz said, referring to a past incident with a nonstudent.

Faculty members also have expressed their appreciation for the cameras.

"I think the cameras are a very good idea," said science teacher Larry Bell. "When balancing privacy and security in a school setting, it's OK to tip the scales toward safety. School halls and grounds are public areas with little expectation of privacy anyway."

Parents echoed those sentiments.

"I appreciate that the school has found grant funding for security cameras," said Valerie Hall, president of the school's Parent Teacher Organization. "In these times, the school's 72 exterior doors present a serious concern. The cameras will mitigate the risks from this situation."

Residents of Mount Greylock's member towns recently have approved spending on a capital project to replace the current school, which is aging and too big for its current student population. It is scheduled to be demolished and replaced in stages, beginning next year.

"The cameras will be able to be [dismantled and] reused in a completely different building," Schutz said. "Nothing will be lost in the demolition."

The MIIA, the nonprofit insurance arm of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, aims to provide risk management solutions to Massachusetts municipalities and related public entities, according to a prepared release. MIIA insures nearly 400 cities, towns, and other public entities in Massachusetts.

The organization works with member entities to "identify a potential loss-control issue and address it," said MIIA spokewoman Jennifer Ranz. "Mount Greylock stood out as a candidate for a loss-control grant in an effort to enhance security at local schools."


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