School installs CCTV cameras in children's toilets

Parents threaten to pull their children out of lessons as school installs CCTV in children’s toilets – but teachers refuse to back down

  • Bosses at Seahaven Academy say cameras were installed on ‘student wishes’
  • School previously shuttered toilets to stop them being used during lesson time 

Furious parents have threatened to pull their children out of school after CCTV cameras were installed in pupil toilets.

School bosses insist the cameras were installed to reflect student wishes for the toilets to be a protected space, and that parents had been consulted on the matter.

The cameras were set up in the toilets at Seahaven Academy in east Sussex over the summer holidays ahead of the near-900 students returning to the school.

Parents said the cameras are ‘so wrong’, with the surveillance technology directly pointed towards cubicles.

In a letter sent to parents, a spokesman for the school in Newhaven said: ‘Our lovely new toilet facilities are being installed for our students.

Seahaven academy says it installed CCTV in children’s toilets over the summer to ‘reflect students wishes’ for cubicles to be a protected space and to discourage socialising 

‘The cubicles will be full height to offer maximum privacy for the students. We want all students and parents to be aware that there will be CCTV in the communal/hand washing areas only.’

Last year, the school installed shutters on some toilets to stop pupils from using them during lesson time, sparking outrage from parents who even launched a petition to remove the barriers. 

Footage of the toilets shows the large CCTV unit installed in the hand washing area, however the camera faces the cubicles.

A picture of the letter was shared by a concerned parent on social media, with one commenter suggesting the new video cameras are ‘wrong and illegal.’

Another added: ‘It’s disgusting, I would be pulling my child out.’

The Information Comissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection regulator, has said the equipment shouldn’t be put up in toilets.

It said: ‘CCTV shouldn’t be running in areas considered private – such as in toilets and changing rooms.

‘Using CCTV here wouldn’t usually be fair or proportionate, meaning it wouldn’t be compliant with data protection law.’

It added that in ‘exceptional cases, such as when dealing with repeated serious antisocial behaviour’ it may be necessary to install surveillance in these private areas, but ‘strong justification’ is needed and people must be aware they are being filmed.

One parent supported the new technology.

She said: ‘Unfortunately some children have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to school property.

‘Children hide in the toilets too, instead of going to lessons. We should all support their efforts.’

Another said: ‘If they are just in the hand washing area, I don’t see the issue. It is only the same as having one in the hallway.

‘Kids unfortunately do get bullied in the toilets as this is where it usually can’t be seen.

‘I think it is a good thing as they are just trying to keep children safe, but that is only if they 100 per cent cannot see into the cubicles of course.’

A spokesman for the school said: ‘Like many schools across the country, there is some use of CCTV in communal areas only, to reflect students’ wishes for the cubicles to be a protected space and to discourage socialising in the blocks.

‘A set of these toilets will remain open during lesson time so that all students will have access to them in the school day. We will still be encouraging students to use these facilities during their breaks and lunch times.’

Source: Read Full Article