Sunday, July 8, 2007

Installations of closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras into schools in the Australian state of New South Wales has alarmed teachers.

CCTV cameras Credit:Quevaal

Over 50 schools in New South Wales already have surveillance cameras in playgrounds and outside dining areas. The concern from teachers arises from the pending installation of further cameras inside classrooms and also corridors.

Teachers have expressed concerns about privacy and misuse of the equipment. Senior vice-president of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, Bob Lipscombe, said that teachers are worried about the footage being used improperly, as well as the fact that both teachers and students would be filmed at work by the cameras.

The increase in security cameras being used in schools is an attempt to protect valuable schooling equipment from theft and damage, in particular computers in computer rooms. Lipscombe said that installations in computer rooms will potentially affect many teachers, as all subjects can be taught with the integration of technology.

CCTV surveillance is preferred by some schools over fitting alarm systems and physical bars on entrances to the room, as it is cheaper to install.

“[Teachers] are concerned about its improper use and that it may be taken out of context”

Lipscombe said that the Teachers Federation isn’t against CCTV systems provided they are operated properly and with appropriate consent. A solution proposed is to only have the surveillance system record during times when the room is unattended.

A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Education and Training has said that the footage obtained is confidential and used to assist police in investigating criminal activity.

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