How safe are Hayward high schools?

Cody Davis and Louis LaVenture,
Contributor and Editor-in-Chief

On Jan. 11 at a school board meeting Ladale Slocum, a campus safety officer for Tennyson High School in South Hayward, discussed the functionality of security cameras at high schools within the Hayward Unified School District.

“Our camera system has been down for at least a couple of years now,” said Slocum.

At another school board meeting, on Jan. 25, Hayward Unified School Board President Lisa Brunner stated, “All our campuses have working radios, I’m not going to lie and say 100 percent of our cameras work because we are having issues.”

There are four high schools within the HUSD that include Brenkwitz, Hayward, Mt. Eden and Tennyson. Slocum said he voiced his concerns after several violent incidents happened on Hayward high school campuses.

“I’ve been here for 10 years and I’ve never seen so many assaults and batteries on faculty, staff members, classified staff members, certificated staff members and no one is doing anything,” Slocum stated at the Jan. 11 meeting.             

Slocum described an event of a “non-student” who came on the Hayward High School campus last year with a gun and attempted to use it on a student. Brunner asked to have her staff follow up on this matter after she heard the information Slocum provided.

Interim Superintendent Matt Wayne told The Pioneer that the district installed the cameras “several years ago” and they were originally monitored and repaired by a third-party.

“Earlier this year, several staff brought to our attention that numerous security cameras were not working well,” Wayne said. “Our director of educational informational technology did an assessment of our cameras and found that the firm had not done a satisfactory job of maintaining the cameras. We subsequently ended our contract with the outside firm and district staff has taken over monitoring and repairing the cameras.”

On Feb. 13, Hayward city manager Kelly McAdoo told The Pioneer about the status of the high school security cameras. “The one thing I do know is that all of the video cameras at the schools are currently operational.” At the time of publication, McAdoo did not respond for clarification.

Wayne said at the Jan. 25 meeting student safety was the district’s top priority.

“We are in the process of repairing any issues and replacing cameras that are beyond repair, with limited support from an outside contractor,” Wayne said. “We anticipate having all cameras functional by the end of April.”

The district expects all cameras to be fully functional and in good repair by the end of March 2017, said Les Hedman, director of Educational Information Technology for HUSD.

“Most of the camera problems are maintenance-related,” said Hedman. “They need cleaning and or covers replaced. For repairs and replacements, the electronics team and I are finalizing the action plan. For cameras that cannot be cleaned or repaired by the team, we will hire a contractor to complete the service.”

Hayward resident Wynn Grcich attended the school board meeting on Jan. 25 and said she was shocked by the camera situation and wanted them fixed immediately.