LATHROP (CBS13) – A strange man confronts a student in the bathroom and a flasher targets kids near school. Now, the push is on to install surveillance cameras on campus at Lathrop Elementary, but not everyone thinks the cameras are worth the cash.

Cameras carry a big price tag. Some even argue they’d give students and parents a false sense of security. Others say it’s the best way to catch the men behind those disturbing incidents that clearly have many on edge.

“This is a message directly to the guy or guys at this point: You better hope that I don’t find you and I don’t find out who you are because these are our children,” parent Rosalinda Valencia said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Parents are pushing for something to be done. Still, the question is: Are surveillance cameras the answer to keep kids safe?

“Banks have cameras, banks are still robbed. I don’t think cameras are the preventative measure,” one speaker said.

“If you go to a store that has cameras, are you more likely to steal from that store or one that doesn’t have cameras? It’s going to help our children,” Valencia countered.

Cops are looking for suspects in multiple incidents. A few weeks back a student in an after-school program reported a man exposed himself in a bathroom.

Another student walking to school said a man exposed himself in a parked car. Then, most recently, a man pulled up alongside a student and offered a ride the rest of the way to school.

Valencia takes it upon herself to patrol around the school to offer an extra set of eyes. She believes surveillance cameras are well worth the $70,000 price tag.

No decision has been made as the debate rolls on.

“I think there’s measures like the buddy system of going to the bathroom that could be more effective,” a parent said.

District administrators considering the cameras say they’re just one piece of the puzzle to keeping students safe. There’s also talk of starting a Neighborhood Watch around the school.


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