By Andrew Strecker, Senior Community Reporter
Westborough – Voters at Westborough’s Annual Town Meeting on March 17 approved just over $400,000 for a multi-camera security system to be installed at Westborough High School.
Discussion on Article 21, which sought authority to borrow $402,500 to design, procure and install a multi-camera security system that includes a radio amplifier at the High School, lasted for nearly one hour.
Westborough Police Chief Jeffrey Lourie, who just joined the department a month ago, explained that, currently, portable radios used by his officers and Westborough firefighters do not work throughout the building.
“That’s frightening to me as the chief,” said Lourie. “If something happens in this school that we can’t communicate with dispatch and let them know we have an issue, that’s a problem.”
Lourie went on to say that in his previous experience, security cameras not only helped in investigations, but also prevented issues from happening.
Westborough resident Nathan Walsh voiced concern over the camera system.
“Putting cameras in the schools and having 24/7 monitoring of all our kids at all times seems excessive to me. It just seems like it’s crossing a line that I’m not sure that we really want to,” he said.
Resident Carol Haagensen asked, “Once everything that students do is caught on camera, how is this used? Do you have a policy?” Haagensen said she supported the radio amplifier portion of the article, but, “I wish these weren’t bundled together. These are bundled together in a way that makes me question the entire article.”
“Discretion is the better part of valor,” responded Lourie. “We’re not going to be utilizing these cameras as Big Brother watching the movements of all our students every day. I can assure you of that.”
After discussion, the article passed by a vote of 152 to 25.