School Video Surveillance Policy & Guidelines (2024)

Many education facilities are turning to advanced technological solutions, such as video surveillance systems, to enhance campus security.

With this, there is a school video security policy that ensures the safety of students and school property.

Let’s discuss the importance of such policies, their key components, and best practices for ensuring surveillance technology’s legal and ethical use in educational settings.

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How Does the School Video Surveillance Policy Work?

A school video surveillance policy is designed to ensure the legal and professional use of video surveillance cameras in accordance with school security standards. It reflects how and when an authorized person can monitor and control video surveillance systems. 

The policy should include reasonable procedures to preserve data related to any incident, including violating school security standards. In general, a school video surveillance policy must cover the issues of privacy, fair disclosure, and appropriate use of surveillance systems. 

school video surveillance policy

What Is the School Security Camera Policy?

Every district should have an established school security camera policy to address the effective use of security cameras on campus. This policy should clearly state that the recorded footage may be presented to law enforcement officers for investigation purposes. 

An effective school security camera policy must guarantee the privacy of students and other school staff and comply with overall school security standards.

All security cameras subject to this policy will be listed in a database maintained by higher authorities. Any existing security cameras or surveillance systems must be brought into compliance with this policy. To control the unauthorized use of security cameras, they must be placed in a secure location and configured to prevent unauthorized access, duplication, or modification.

Who Should Be Notified?

Concerning the school security camera policy, informing students, teachers, and parents about the procedures and approvals within this regulation is imperative. It should be clear that videos and audio recorded through the school security cameras may be used as proof to assist inquiries.

Students, campus administrators, and staff can be notified through a visible signage stating that “school district buildings and grounds are equipped with electronic surveillance for the safety of students, staff and campus visitors. Your actions may be recorded and preserved.” 

What Should a School Surveillance Policy Cover?

Address Privacy Issues

A school video surveillance policy must not allow monitoring of private areas or areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. These areas may include restrooms, changing rooms, or locker rooms. 

No one should be permitted to record confidential information without the parties’ consent. Applicable university procedures will seriously deal with any violation of this policy.

Authorized Use of Video Camera Surveillance

Controlled and limited access to surveillance cameras must be a top priority of the school’s video surveillance policy. Only authorized personnel, as determined by the school, should be permitted to access video surveillance cameras and footage. 

Based on school security standards, password-protected access should be limited to specific school staff or safety managers. The policy should keep the recorded material confidential from the general public and respect the privacy of individuals. 

Avoid Unnecessary Intrusions

Based on the school video surveillance policy, security, and surveillance cameras must be used to avoid unnecessary intrusions. There should be no intervention in students’ academic freedom, privacy, or freedom of speech. This will ultimately aid in the professional and ethical use of surveillance cameras.

Appropriate & Prohibited Use

The school video surveillance policy should prohibit unauthorized individuals or groups from accessing security cameras and recordings. Data stored in the cameras should not be accessed or disclosed to anyone except as outlined by the policy. 

Only authorized people should be permitted to use surveillance cameras to monitor individuals in and around the campus.

Storage of Recorded Material

Accordingly, storage and release of the recorded material is very important. The policy can help devise procedures to keep the recorded material safe and sound following school security standards.

Release of Recorded MaterialSecurity regulations only allow the release of information to those recognized by the school policy. It’s important to note that releasing information must not breach individual privacy. Only the required material should be released, keeping confidentiality intact.

school video surveillance policy

Do Schools Use a CCTV Policy?

As schools use CCTV cameras in various locations on and around the campus for security purposes, they need a CCTV policy as well. This is needed to ensure the professional use of CCTV cameras. If schools use CCTV cameras, they must adhere to the codes of conduct illustrated by the policy.

Along with this, a CCTV policy must be clear on whether individuals are being recorded or not or where they are being recorded. The CCTV policy can be used to safeguard and protect the campus and individuals within the premises. Additionally, it can be used to collect any substantial evidence required to support investigations.

Is It Legal for Your School to Watch You on Camera?

It is legal for schools to watch students on cameras as long as they are not invading their privacy. Security cameras and surveillance systems should not be installed where accepted social norms need privacy.

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What Are Some Regulations in Place for Access to Surveillance Recordings?

Access to surveillance recordings and information is strictly limited to authorized personnel. These may include employees, third parties that have requested entry, parents, and subpoenas. 

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FEPRA) allows parents access to a child’s education record and control over the disclosure of information. No other students, administrators, staff members, or visitors shall be permitted for surveillance recordings.

Where Can Security Cameras Be Placed at Schools?

As much as the access and storage of security cameras in schools is important, their placement is also very important. 

According to the school security camera policy, surveillance can be implemented at main entrances, campus exits, storage areas, lockers, parking lots, conference rooms, playgrounds, classrooms, hallways, recreational facilities, and administration cafeterias. 

However, security cameras must be installed and utilized strictly for individuals’ and administration’s safety and security. 

Unacceptable School Camera Placement

There are some places where using security cameras is highly unacceptable. These include restrooms, private dorms, lockers, changing rooms, and staff offices. 

Security cameras are used solely for the school’s security and monitoring needs. The admin should implement the camera placements. Any placement that breaches an individual’s privacy is unacceptable and can be grounds for violation.

Management & Operations of Video Surveillance Systems

Duties of Video Surveillance Operators

The school video surveillance operators will be trained to use cameras legally and ethically. They will be informed about the technical uses of security cameras. They will acknowledge that they understand the school video surveillance policy. 

The operators will implement the responsibility and policy. Furthermore, video surveillance operators will access the footage as the policy permits.

What Are Video Surveillance Operators Prohibited From?

Though the school video surveillance policy allows operators to view footage for improved security measures, some prohibitions remain. Video surveillance operators cannot monitor students based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity, or disability. 

They are also prohibited from monitoring any intimate behavior or using any other video surveillance systems or surveillance images that are inconsistent with this policy.

school video surveillance policy

Recommendations for the Use of Security Cameras & Surveillance 

The Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs (ASCIP) recommends using security cameras and surveillance in schools. 

Districts must ensure a well-formed school video surveillance policy by school security standards. The policy shall be made considering individuals’ privacy limitations. 

It is highly advised to post signage at the campus’s entrance and exit points. Students can also be informed through newsletters and staff handbooks. 

If a recording is requested for proof, it should be kept secure until acceptable standards have dealt with the request. You are advised to keep a copy of the disclosure for future reservations.

FAQs

Do parents have a right to see video from school?

Parents’ rights to access surveillance footage vary based on school policies and considerations. 

While some schools prioritize transparency and parental involvement by allowing access to video footage, others prioritize student protection and restrict parental access to sensitive footage. 

Should schools have surveillance cameras in classrooms?

Proponents argue that cameras enhance safety by deterring misconduct and monitoring for potential threats.

However, opponents raise concerns about privacy infringement, arguing that constant surveillance may create a culture of mistrust and inhibit students’ freedom to learn in a supportive environment.

Do you have a right to privacy when you are in school?

The right to privacy in schools is a complex issue influenced by legal considerations, school policies, and societal expectations. 

While students have privacy rights, schools must also maintain a safe and secure environment and should be of reasonable expectation of privacy.  

How long do school cameras keep footage?

Typically, footage is retained for a limited period, ranging from 30-90 days, to comply with legal mandates and address safety and security concerns. Clear guidelines on retention periods ensure that footage is preserved for necessary investigations while respecting individuals’ privacy rights.

Final Thoughts

A comprehensive school video surveillance policy is crucial for maintaining a safe and secure learning environment. 

By balancing the need for safety with privacy concerns, schools can effectively deter misconduct, respond swiftly to incidents, and ensure the well-being of students, teachers, faculty members, and campus visitors. 

With clear guidelines on camera placement, data storage, access control, and compliance with regulations, a well-defined surveillance policy promotes transparency, accountability, and trust within the school community.

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