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Duluth high schools add video surveillance

DULUTH -- Students intending to cause mischief at Duluth's three public high schools might think twice about their actions next fall.

Central, Denfeld and Duluth East high schools will each receive 60 to 80 new closed-circuit surveillance cameras this summer. The school district has wanted to add cameras since the 1999 Columbine school shooting, and last month the school board approved $200,000 in funding.

District officials say they hope the cameras will prevent vandalism and increase security. Duluth East already has some cameras, and principal Laurie Knapp said the response has been positive.

Knapp said she also thinks an outdoor camera will help patch up Duluth East's relationship with its neighbors, which is somewhat strained by student-generated litter, noise and parking problems.

The new cameras will monitor only public areas of the high schools. Classrooms are off limits, but the bowling ball-sized cameras will watch the entrances to locker rooms, bathrooms, gyms and fitness centers.

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Because a decision on spending wasn't made until after the school year ended, students will be formally notified of the cameras in the fall, said Kerry Leider, the district's facilities manager.

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