Parkland improves security program following shooting

Max Webster, Investigative Reporter

A year has passed since Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was hit by one of the worst shootings in American history on Feb. 14. In the Florida shooting, gunman Nikolas Cruz entered Building 12 of the school, pulled the fire alarm, and began firing on fleeing students. At the end of the shooting, 17 were killed and 17 were injured, beating the Columbine Shooting in 1999 and becoming the worst shooting in American history.

One year later, Parkland is still feeling the effects and is doing everything they can to ensure this horrific event never happens again. One thing that they are using is a new, state-of-the-art security system with integrated artificial intelligence (AI). The 145-Camera System made by Avigilon is said to be able to detect suspicious activity as it is able to track students based on their appearance and behavior.

The system itself is not only able to see suspicious activity, but it can give resource officers a live feed and alerts too. Integrated into the system is a series of algorithms that can detect facial expressions and body language that are suspicious and can even tell when someone new is on the school grounds. With the system’s ability to catch potential threats quickly, school officers and students are sure to be safe and have the upper hand.

While thousands of dollars are going into these systems, teachers and parents have their concerns about the system. “How is this computer going to make a decision on what’s the right and wrong thing in a school with over 3,000 kids?” stated Krawczyk, a teacher of 15 years. With every school having its own students all different from each other, it is a legitimate concern that the AI may flag students for doing nothing and even potentially not flagging an intruder. Another issue is that the cameras, like all tech, are susceptible to hacks.

Truth is, there is only so much we as people can do to prevent these shootings. However, there is always a way to slow down a gunman or catch them before they begin their attack, and this is what Avigion wants to achieve. The 145 system is not only going to be tested In Parkland but in other schools across the nation, and we all can agree that safety for both students and teachers alike is nothing to take lightly. And who knows? With the right prevention, maybe one day we will see the end of shootings all together.