Ocean City School Board listens during Monday’s meeting to Curt Nath, director of academics for the district, speak about new technology to improve security and efficiency in the schools. By Maddy VitaleAs schools look to improve security measures nationwide, Ocean City is turning to technology to help protect its students and staff.At the Board of Education Monday night, the district approved a new communication system that will streamline all its technology to give teachers and administration better control of areas such as emergency alerts, the school public address system, security cameras, video and audio from one networked platform, Curt Nath, director of academic services, explained in a presentation. The installation of a Unified Campus Communication system created by the company AMX would start in the high school with installation in the high school by the summer and then would be put in the Intermediate School and Primary School, he said. The school board voted to approve hiring AMX to do the work. Funds are set aside in the capital reserve for the project totaling more than $700,000. School Business Administrator Tim Kelley said the district is excited to be able to introduce a system that would improve student learning, administrative efficiency and district-wide safety without a tax hike on Ocean City taxpayers.The new system will consolidate video surveillance, access control, monitoring applications, and mass notification through a single portal. The new system would allow the district office to have unified and simultaneous access to and throughout all schools. Schools Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said it would allow for “real time” communications with the local police department and emergency responders.“If there is a panic situation occurring or a lockdown, we have to wait for the school to call us,” Taylor said.That would all change with the new system. Nath said each teacher would be equipped with a microphone, similar to surround sound, but for the classroom. In addition, the teacher would have a built-in panic button. That way, the teacher could press the button and help would be on the way. It would eliminate the need for rushing to the phone to call down to the office. “With that panic button, it could be a student fainted,” Taylor said adding that the teacher might not be able to get to the phone. “The teacher can push the button and we can notify the police department and monitor what is going on.”Everything is controlled through an iPad so that the district could “parcel out” announcements to certain classrooms, Nath told the school board. He added that the public-address system could override a TV in the classroom too in an emergency.“Say you are doing a lockdown, the system would mute, what you have on. It allows us to control our own technology remotely,” Nath explained.In addition, the district would be able to broadcast events live in high definition to all district equipment. The project to upgrade the school technology stemmed from a meeting between the administration and the high school TV/Media program, school officials explained. With the improvement technology came the added security features.“This project has been in the works and evolving for the past five years,” said Taylor, who noted that this innovative communication system will enhance the teaching-learning process in the classroom by coordinating and integrating the components of the audio-visual systems for each classroom.Several school board members asked if other districts had a similar system. Nath said Stockton University uses “pieces” of the system. Other college campuses use the system as well. But the Ocean City School District would be the first K-12 school district in the state to implement the full system. Included in the technology would be ENZO, a classroom presentation system, which makes it easier for teachers to access, present and share information with their classes. The system provides each classroom with instant screen mirroring in which the teachers can share digital content from each student’s tablet, laptop or smartphone. In the event of an emergency, administrators can quickly override all smart boards and post important information. Nath said the district hopes to have the equipment installed in the high school by summer and then the other two schools right after that.He added, “It is a process that requires a lot of work.” Curt Nath, director of academic services for the district, explains a new communicatios system to the school board.
Norwegian pension provider KLP has divested four companies over “unacceptable” risks of human rights violations but re-admitted internet company Yahoo nearly a decade after exclusion.As part of its twice-yearly review of holdings, the local authority pension provider said it decided to exclude South Korean steel-maker POSCO, its subsidiary Daewoo International Corporation and Singapore-listed supply chain manager Olam International.All three companies were excluded due to their use of cotton sourced from Uzbekistan, which the provider said increased the risk of its contributing to human rights and labour law violations.In a statement, it said: “The use of child labour to harvest cotton has long been widespread in Uzbekistan. “In response to international pressure, the country has reduced the scale of child labour but has done so by increasing the use of adult forced labour.”KLP said all three companies acknowledged they were aware of the risks of Uzbek cotton but gave no indication that they would change their sourcing.Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investment at KLP Kapitalforvaltning, said the companies should seek to introduce systems that “uncover and prevent” child and forced labour within supply chains.“Where violations of human and labour rights have been identified, KLP expects companies to respond by implementing reasonable measures to stop such abuses from continuing,” she said.The provider also excluded Canadian agricultural retailer Agrium over its use of phosphates from Morocco, and announced that Yahoo would be re-admitted to its investment universe after a 2005 exclusion triggered by the company handing over data to the Chinese authorities that led to the arrest – and jailing – of a journalist.Of the decision to once again invest in Yahoo, Bergen said: “Yahoo admits the incident that formed the original grounds for exclusion was worthy of criticism, and has introduced a number of measures to strengthen user privacy.”She said KLP still felt there was a need to engage with the internet giant over freedom of expression but that the exclusion was no longer required.KLP was not the only Nordic investor with concerns over Yahoo’s behaviour, with the Swedish AP funds engaging with the company over the incident in China.The decision to divest the four companies comes weeks after the provider divested several dozen fossil fuel companies and re-allocated capital to renewable energy.
NZ Herald 14 Nov 2012Opponents of the Chow Brothers’ resource consent bid for a 15-storey brothel and hotel building in the Auckland CBD say it could become New Zealand’s first sex hotel and a drawcard for overseas and out-of-town sex buyers. At the hearing of the building consent application yesterday, Denise Ritchie, of the Stop Demand Foundation, said the size of the brothel was “news” to her. Auckland Council planners had recommended approval for the building based on brothel activities being located over 1.5 floors, with 13 brothel rooms on the third floor and a brothel entertainment area on the ground mezzanine. However, the Herald yesterday reported the architect saying accommodation for the brothel would be located on the third and fourth floors and the first and second floors were to be occupied by a strip club. From the fifth to the eighth floor would be hotel rooms, then two levels of offices and on the 11th and 12th floors a bar. Hearing commissioners’ panel chairman David Kirkpatrick confirmed the plans earlier shown for the building showed only the third floor as a brothel and the fourth as for the hotel.….Ms Ritchie expressed concern that hotel rooms as non-permanent accommodation were defined by the council as including any services and amenities provided on site for the normal use of patrons. “Given that there is a brothel and that’s providing services, are we to take it that this is a sex-on-site hotel and, if so, is it fair that we see this as a commercial sex hotel as distinct from a hotel where you would have families coming to stay?”http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10847247