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More Schools Need Security Cameras

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The classmates of missing 7-year-old Kyron Horman will return to school at Skyline Elementary School next week with a new surveillance video system in place, but some Portland parents wonder if children at other schools will be getting the same protection.

Kyron vanished from Skyline Elementary School on June 4. One of the mysteries in his disappearance is whether he left the school with someone or if he walked away on his own. Some parents said Tuesday that they believe the case could be solved if surveillance cameras were in place.

Portland Public Schools spokesman Matt Shelby said the cameras recently installed at Skyline were donated by Chown Hardware and the district does not have the money to place them in every school.

"When you start talking about district resources, we don't have the capacity to go in and install those systems everywhere," Shelby said.

Shelby said the district is working on a modernization plan for the city's schools, but the plan -- which would include cameras -- could take 10 years to implement.

Ray Panagopoulos, a Wilson High School teacher, said there were security cameras at every school when he taught in California. He said it would be a useful tool in Portland.

"I think security cameras are great because it provides a set of eyes and otherwise you might miss things," Panagopoulos said.

Some parents, however, said it's a complicated and expensive idea.

"If someone else wanted to donate the cameras to other schools, I'd see that as a benefit," said Marianne Wilhelm, a Portland parent. "But whether it's really something we need, I'm not sure."

Jennifer Switzer said her children will return to school at Chapman Elementary School in Portland next week. She said she'd feel better if they were returning to a new video surveillance system like the one installed at Skyline School.

"Maybe we would never need them, but it's just one extra layer," she said.

The video from the surveillance cameras at Skyline School can be seen in real-time. There is one camera inside the school in the main hallway and several others facing every direction outside.

The first day of school at Skyline is Tuesday, Sept. 7.

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