The School District of Philadelphia will be using drones in “violence-prone” areas in addition to new safety procedures to protect students from the city’s crime, according to Chalkbeat.
Chief of School Safety Kevin Bethel announced on Wednesday that the school would be implementing new technology such as updating 150 analog cameras to digital cameras, and drones in order to ensure safety for students, according to Chalkbeat.
Approximately 200 students were shot throughout the last school year, 33 died, and 18 guns were found apparently belonging to students, Chalkbeat reported. (RELATED: Despite Billions In Taxpayer Funding, Blue City’s Schools Are Literally Falling Apart)
We consider our schools to be safe havens. Today @PHLschoolboard President @RLStreaterEsq, Chief of School Safety Kevin Bethel and I joined @PhillyMayor and @PPDCommish to announce upgraded safety measures as the school year kicks off on Sept. 5. #PHLED pic.twitter.com/jcJmzDcwOm
— Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington Sr. (@watlington_sr) August 30, 2023
Bethel announced the district is in the early stages of planning the launch of district-owned drones with some piloted by students. “They are looking into expanding the use of drones to patrol violence-prone areas without the need for police on the ground,” according to Chalkbeat.
Bethel also addressed concerns about the surveillance of students and city residents. The chief of school safety said students would not be permitted to monitor the footage and mentioned the controversy of students surveilling other students.
The goal is to “make sure that I’m keeping my children safe. There’s no ulterior motive to try to look for,” Bethel said according to Chalkbeat. “We don’t want to put kids in a position where their … peers could construe it to be something negative.”
In addition to drones the district announced they will be increasing Philadelphia police presence, training all district employees in active shooter response, hiring crossing guards to monitor high-traffic school areas and introducing new gun detection systems.