Pros and Cons for CCTV in Schools

It has recently been made public that more than 200 schools across Britain are using CCTV cameras in pupils’ changing rooms and even toilets. The results were obtained by anti-surveillance campaigners who were very much concerned about the privacy of schoolchildren.

Considering that violent acts do, unfortunately, happen in schools, using CCTV cameras can prove to be beneficial both as providing proof and as generating some sort of a barrier, as the mere acknowledgment of CCTV existence makes students reconsider their potential violent or inappropriate actions. Examples of conduct that CCTV cameras can prevent are: misbehaviour in lessons, vandalism, bullying, theft, smoking and drug use.

Mr. Hayer, the manager of Radclyffe School in Oldham, has installed 20 cameras in its toilets, explaining that “toilets” does not refer to the cubicles, but to the area leading to them which is staff-free, meaning that teachers only rarely go in there. Pupils know this and use the information in their advantage. Most of the bullying or theft happens here, so resorting to surveillance cameras seems like the right thing to do, as long as both parents and children are clearly informed from the very beginning about why the cameras are present and how is the data going to be used, if used.

There’s no need to worry that too many cameras might constitute a breach of pupils’ privacy, as all schools using cameras are required by law to adhere to the Data Protection Act. This ensures that the information obtained will only be made public in situations required by the law and will be respecting certain strict guidelines.

Whenever CCTV surveillance is required, the very first thing that needs to be done is checking the legal requirements by addressing a specialised institution. For instance, if such a system is required within the workplace, the staff should normally be aware that they are being monitored. If, however, there are exceptional situations, video and audio recording equipment may be used without the workers being aware of this.

Such a process is called covert monitoring. Before resorting to this, there are some questions that need to be addressed first and it is only the experienced investigators that can provide the answers.


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