-UK Parents furious over surveillance cameras in school toilets.

Posted: April 26, 2010 in 2010, Articles
Tags: ,

Chelmsley Wood school puts CCTV in pupil toilets

Sunday Mercury | Mar 7, 2010

by Christina Savvas

FURIOUS parents have hit out at a Midland school after it installed surveillance cameras in pupil toilets.

Students returned to Grace Academy in Chelmsley Wood after half-term to discover the Big Brother-style equipment had been set up in male and female loos.

The school insists the spy cameras are only pointing at the sinks in a bid to deter vandal attacks – and have not yet been activated.

But some pupils are said to be so worried about being pictured in the toilets that they are now refusing to use the facilities. One mum whose teenage daughter attends the school said the cameras were a ‘total invasion of privacy’.

The hospital worker said: “She came home from school and told me that security cameras had been installed in the girls’ toilets but we didn’t know anything about it.

‘‘It’s completely wrong as that footage could easily get into the wrong hands.

“You would expect the school to have consulted parents first.

“Yet we received no information and no letters have been sent home explaining this decision.

“The school should have realised how concerned parents and pupils would be at this sort of thing.’’

She added: “The school has told the kids the cameras only point at the sinks, not the cubicles – but some girls may change or wash at the sinks.

“It is apparently something to do with vandalism, but surely they could just have cameras by the door to see who is going in and out of the toilets?

“I rang the head teacher about this but have not even had a reply. I am quite concerned about privacy rights.”

The cameras have been fitted in the boys’ and girls’ toilets on the lower ground floor – which is in addition to the 26-plus surveillance cameras already in place at the school.

But school bosses have accused parents and pupils of ‘over reacting’.

Steve Chase, chief executive of Grace Academy, said the cameras had been fitted due to health and safety concerns but had not been activated.

He added: “There is protocol about who can view the footage which will only be viewed if there is an incident.

“We understand the issues around the cameras. We are communicating with parents and students on this and I suspect there has been over reaction from some.”

Mr Chase added that the cameras were fixed ‘dome’ cameras, directed towards the basins and not into cubicles and would not be in operation around the clock.

Solihull Education Authority declined to comment.

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