What Are the Concerns About Cameras in the Classroom?
Cameras are everywhere. They’re in our computers and phones. They’re in stores and in cars. In schools, they’re in the hallways, cafeteria, gymnasium, and the playground. Video cameras are a major part of the overall conversation about what can be done to keep students and staff safe. They can be an important tool in monitoring potential threats, recording any incidents that occur, and even deterring crime. So why aren’t cameras more often found in classrooms?
Safety vs. Privacy
A major concern with cameras in classrooms is privacy. Should students and teachers be able to expect any amount of privacy while at school? The majority of cameras in schools are currently located in public areas. People expect to be watched in common areas like hallways and the cafeteria. But classrooms are a different story. There are understandable concerns about what may be recorded and who can see that footage.
Teachers and parents alike may have questions about what the video footage could be used for. Would it be used as a part of teacher evaluations? What about student performance? Being on camera changes how people act – if both students and teachers alike feel pressured by the cameras, they may be less likely to fully engage with their work. They may also feel more stressed from feeling constantly monitored. The overall culture of the school could change, if neither students nor staff feel like they can relax because of the constant presence of the cameras.
A Lack of Resources
Having a surveillance system requires not just the financial means to install it in the first place. It also requires some school staff to have the technological know-how to install and maintain a system. Some may be reluctant to devote more staff time and school district money to increasing the number of cameras, especially when there may already be cameras in the hallways and common areas.
Why Should Classrooms Have Cameras?
Despite the concerns about cameras in the classrooms, there are a lot of advantages, for both teachers and students. They can contribute to keeping students and staff safe in an emergency, but that’s not the only benefit. They can improve overall behavior in everyday situations as well. The important thing is that if cameras are in classrooms, the teacher needs to have control of them.
No one likes to feel like they’re on surveillance all the time. It’s a lot of pressure and the vast majority of the time, there’s nothing of note to film. But cameras in the classroom can be incredibly useful in the rare instances that there is a problem, so long as the teachers control when they’re on and when they’re not. If the teachers can activate the camera when an incident begins, the principal or other staff can be alerted and there’s a recording of what happened in case there are differing versions of the story. Some students may be encouraged to behave better, knowing that the teacher could turn the camera on at any time.
In an emergency situation, the cameras could prove invaluable to locating and recording the perpetrator. The principal or security staff could have emergency control of the cameras to turn them on and even send the video feed to the police or other emergency responders if needed. Security can see what’s going on anywhere in the school if cameras are also in the classrooms.