Some schools place security cameras in the school buildings and around the campus in hopes of preventing and discouraging bad behavior and crime. There are definitely advantages to having security cameras in place, but there are also cons. When considering whether to put cameras inside school buildings, educators need to think long and hard about the disadvantages of going this route.
Some consider the placement of security cameras in the school an invasion of privacy; this could be true if the cameras aren’t properly installed. Security cameras may be a legal liability if they are installed and used incorrectly. School administrators must know how and where security cameras can be installed legally. Cameras can’t be used in areas where the students or staff members have reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in a bathroom or locker room.
The cost of purchasing and installing security cameras is expensive. Maintaining, operating and monitoring them is an additional expense.
Passive Approach to Fixing a Problem
Those opposed to school security cameras believe this is a passive approach or device that doesn’t work as well in the prevention of violence or other in-school problems or infractions as intervention by an adult.
It is a concern that adults (teachers and administrators) could use security cameras for profiling purposes. If a security camera is used to target students who look different from the norm because of their sexual orientation, gender, race or religion, this is absolutely unconstitutional and a violation of the students’ rights.
Another consideration is how the presence of in-school security cameras impact students' self-esteem and morale. Cameras of this nature can be perceived as intrusive and creating an environment of distrust, which may create problems instead of preventing them. Some see these cameras as the type of security measures that are used in prisons and inappropriate for school. When students believe they are not trusted and more restrictions are imposed on them, it is possible that they will become even more divided and less focused on their studies.
Cameras can be vandalized or stolen, which can be an expensive problem; there is also the possibly that those who work in the school system and have access to the operation of the cameras could, if they so chose to, circumvent the cameras so that they aren't working when they should be.
Outsmarting the Cameras
The students may change their modus operandi and simply conduct questionable behavior in other areas of the school in which they know that cameras aren’t present.