One parent said his daughter would be too ‘mortified’ to use the facilities
Parents have expressed anger after a school installed CCTV cameras in an area of the pupils’ toilets.
Pupils at Framwellgate School, a co-educational secondary in Durham, will start the autumn term this week to find that cameras will be watching over them in the communal sink area of the toilets.
Andy Black, who has a 14-year-old daughter at the school, has said that the installation of the cameras is a violation of privacy, while the school has argued that the cameras are needed to watch for bullying and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Black, who demanded that the school takes the cameras down, contado The Northern Echo: “It’s a violation of privacy for the children. We were not consulted.
“They say it’s to prevent bullying. If they want to stop bullying, put cameras on the outside of the door seeing who is going in and out.
“They don’t have to put it in the bathroom area, specially for the girls who would consider that an off-limit sanctuary.
“My daughter is 14, and she is mortified at the thought that the school is monitoring her behaviour in the bathrooms. She said she just won’t go to the toilets at school at all and will wait until she returns home.”
Mr Black said there were also concerns over who is monitoring the footage and how secure it is.
Headteacher Andy Byers has defended the move, saying it is not considered a breach of privacy – as the cameras are outside the toilet cubicles and point towards the sinks.
He told the newspaper: “The toilets are pretty much the only unsupervised area of the school where staff very rarely go and we have a duty of care to safeguard young people and keep them safe and that includes stopping bullying and damage and vandalism.
“There are a lot of young people who have told us they are scared to go to the toilets because of all the students hanging around in there.
“Coupled to that we have spent a lot of money this summer refurbishing the toilets which have been damaged over a number of years.”
He said the school was not required to consult parents as it is an operational matter and no guidelines or rules are being broken.
Mr Byers added that the footage will only be reviewed if there is an incident, and that if footage or an image needs to be kept then the parents will be informed.
The urinals in the boys’ toilets have been replaced with cubicles for “extra privacy”, he also said.
It is not illegal for schools to install cameras in their toilets, as long as they are not able to be directed towards the cubicles.
Dentro 2018, after an investigation at a different school, the Information Commissioner’s Office said “cameras should only be used in toilet areas in exceptional circumstances.”
Adicionou: “Any school considering using CCTV cameras must justify their use and consider whether or not it is proportionate, necessary, and addresses a pressing need not addressed by other measures.”
O Independente has approached Framwellgate School for comment.