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Walpole High Student Group Lobbying Against Surveillance Cameras in Hallways

A petition is being circulated around the high school that will be presented to the Walpole School Committee.

A student group has formed at Walpole High School who are against a proposed Town Meeting article that would see surveillance cameras installed in the hallways of the town's public schools.

Senior Kevin Delaney started Students Opposing Surveillance (SOS) which has been circulating a petition around the high school to be presented to the school committee.

Delaney believes that surveilling students in the hallways at school is a violation of "students' civil liberties."

"The majority of the students we talk to support our cause and have joined the group," he said. "As of right now we have over 140 Facebook followers and over 100 signatures on our petition."

Delaney said one of the reasons he started the group was because of the proposed cost.

The article calls for about $36,000 to install cameras on the inside and outside of the high school. It will cost another $86,500 to do the same at the rest of Walpole's public schools.

"Only a couple of months ago the schools begged, if not pleaded, with the town to get a tax override to fund the schools. Now just a few months later they turn around and demand more money to watch tax payers' children," Delaney said.

The other contention of the group is that it infringes on students' rights.

"The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees protection against any unreasonable search or seizure, and what is constant video surveillance but a pervasive and inescapable search of students every minute they are in school?," he said.

"Having cameras, even if they are never used as evidence for disciplinary purposes, amounts to a public institution searching citizens, without probable cause for search or consent. And this is in direct violation of a constitutional guarantee," said Delaney.

Delaney said he got the idea to start the group when he heard about similar student movements at other schools.

"I would like to say that the people who founded this group are not bad kids. All of us have GPA's higher than 3.1. We all play sports. I am the captain of the cross country winter and spring track teams. We are not rebellious and narrow-minded teenagers. We never questioned the administration or authority figures before but we saw this as wrong and so we decided to act," he said.

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