Parking lot safety on the minds of Douglas High administrators

Cameras scheduled for installation this summer on the campus of Douglas High School might get a mixed reception.

Students who have fallen victim to recent car break-ins on campus will be able to rest easier knowing there is some measure of protection.

But troublemakers will have to worry a little more about Big Brother watching.

Either way the cameras are coming - part of an effort to increase safety on campus, said Douglas High School Principle Bev Jeans.

"We've just always wanted to have a surveillance system inside and outside of school," she said. "It's an addition for school safety."

The 2000-2001 school budget allocates $60,000 to install the cameras, which will cover halls and classrooms and parking lots.

Carson High School has been using a similar system to track car break-ins, fights and other school disturbances.

"They have a lot of vehicles broken into at Douglas," said Douglas County Sheriff's Lt. Lance Modispacher. "Kids leave things like compact discs laying out and the cars get broken into."

A 17-year-old student who wished to remain unnamed was the victim of a break-in earlier this week. She said her rear window was smashed and her purse taken. She is upset that the school does not have any liability for theft and damage.

"We pay $2 to park on public property, but they're not liable," she said. "I'd rather not pay $2 if someone's going to break into my car."

She said the bill for her back window was $300.

Jeans said the registration is necessary to track student and non-student cars as well as parking offenses. Over the last four weeks, she said, school officials have been concerned about emergency vehicle access.

"There have been problems with students parking in the bus lanes and fire lanes," she said. "It's a safety issue - we want our cars in the parking areas and out of the illegal areas."

A new system has been devised to ticket students who park in the wrong area, or park in the student lot without a registration sticker.

For their first offense, students receive a warning; for the second, a $25 ticket; and for the third, the vehicle is towed.

Students pay $2 for three years. Each additional car costs $1.


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