The Practical Guy
He might fade into the background pretty often, but Richard Cameron still plays a key role in the DPS: that of the guy who says the obvious…even if it isn't what the others want to hear.
In fact, we first see Cameron holding the "Tradition" banner. That's no mistake; we could even call it foreshadowing.
Cameron likes the status quo; he doesn't like anything even slightly out of the ordinary. While everyone else is tearing out the front pages of their book, Cameron looks on nervously. He clearly doesn't enjoy Mr. Keating's inventive and unorthodox teaching style. Cameron is a skeptic, who doesn't like anything strange or new.
In fact, Cameron's whole deal can pretty much be summed up in one line. After Mr. Keating's rousing first class, the boys are riled up with the concepts of "carpe diem" and making the most out of life.
CAMERON: Think he'll test us on that stuff?
The other guys roll their eyes, but to Cameron, poetry is just another class he has to pass in order to graduate. His classmates know where his priorities are, too. When asked if the guys can invite Cameron to the study group, Charles says:
CHARLES: What's his specialty? Bootlicking?
It's safe to say that Cameron is known as a bit of a suck up. So why does he join the DPS? Simple: because everyone else is doing it. Status quo, remember?
And the status quo is also why, when asked to confess who is responsible for the DPS, Cameron is the first to do so. His name is the first on the statement condemning Mr. Keating, and he encourages the others to follow his example:
CAMERON: You can't save Keating, but you can save yourselves.
He's also one of the only DPS members who doesn't stand up and call Mr. Keating his "captain" at the end…and he doesn't really show much growth throughout the film.
Cameron is, in the end, the same old Cameron. No "carpe diem" for him.