The school security camera debate always rages on. Should surveillance cameras be used in schools?

On the one hand, school security cameras are indeed effective to enhance the intuition security. However, improper installation of the surveillance cameras may lead to privacy invasion, which is the HEATEST discussion point.

Here we'll show you the pros and cons of security cameras at schools and the detailed answers to the hottest questions you may have about this topic.

Today's Topic Overview:
Part 1. Are Schools Allowed to Have Security Cameras
Part 2. School Security Camera Pros and Cons
Part 3. School Security Camera Recommendations
Part 4. School Security Camera Placement
Part 5. School Surveillance Hottest Questions

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Part 1. Are Schools Allowed to Have Security Cameras

Does every school have security cameras?

Before we start, let's take a look at the statistics:

In 2017, about 84 percent of students ages 12–18 reported observing one or more security cameras to monitor the school, according to National Center for Education Statistics. And the number is increasing.

However is it legal for a teacher to have cameras installed in the classroom?

While FERPA does not specifically address this issue, school should have a surveillance camera policy outlining the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff.

As a best practice, the policy should include the following:

  • A clear statement of appropriate reasons for using surveillance cameras;
  • The role and responsibilities of individuals with access to the cameras;
  • Who will have access to any footage;
  • How long will any footage be kept and how will it be destroyed; and a consent provision

So do school classrooms have cameras? Are security cameras allowed in bathroom?

School cameras are typically placed in areas that do not infringe on students’ right to privacy, such as classrooms, hallways, common areas, and building perimeters.

However, installing security surveillance cameras in school bathrooms or toilets where there is reasonable expectation of privacy is definitely illegal.

Part 2. Security Cameras & Systems in Schools: Pros & Cons

"Surveillance in Schools: Safety vs Privacy" might be your first priority. What's the use of security camera in schools?

You can check the "Surveillance in Schools Safety VS Privacy" to decide whether you support installing security cameras on school campuses or not.

1. School CCTV Security Camera Pros
2. School Surveillance Camera Cons

1. Benefits of CCTV Security Surveillance Cameras in School Classrooms and Other Places

You can check top 5 advantages of installing CCTV security cameras on school buses, classrooms, elevators, and other public places.

1. School Security Cameras Can Deter Burglars, Thieves, Vandalism, Car Thefts, Sexual Crimes, etc.

School surveillance cameras (systems) installed plain in sight are a great deterrent for criminals. No one wants to be caught on the act.

For example, when there are school video surveillance cameras installed in school parking lots, potential perpetrators may think twice before committing a crime. About 60% convicted burglars stated the presence of a security camera system influenced their decision to look for another easy target.

You can check the effectiveness of security cameras in this post here.

If the worst situation happens — a student got robbed, the images and videos captured by school security cameras are useful for investigating vandalism or violence. With evidences, the criminals can be caught by the police much more easily.

School Security Cameras Systems

2. School Surveillance Security Cameras Help Stop Bullying in Schools

Why should security cameras be allowed in classrooms and other school places? One of the reasons is that it'll help reduce school bullying.

School bullying has become a serious problem in school campuses. Under the surveillance of video cameras in schools, students tend to behave well, which is definitely an effective way to stop bullying in schools.

Doonside Technology High School in Sydney has reported a 70% drop in bullying since the school has been protected by CCTV security cameras around the clock.

In some cases, school bullying would happen in school buses. Video recordings of CCTV surveillance cameras in the school buses can prevent he-said-she-said situations when a bullying happens.

3. School CCTV Security Cameras Are Effective to Protect Both Teachers and Students

Some teachers would harass their students in some cases. With the security video surveillance cameras installed in classrooms and other places, those unscrupulous teachers generally would not hurt students.

However, in some cases, some teachers who would get accused of sexual harassment by his or her students, but the teachers are innocent. The students accuse the teachers just because of some minor reasons. For example, the teachers are too strict on the students’ study or rebuke the students when students cheat in exams.

Being accused by students for sexual harassment would damage the teacher's reputation and make him or her lose the job. And the teacher might spend the next 10 years of his or her life in prison because of something a child said.

But if there are security cameras in classrooms and other places, you can see who would be responsible for the issue.

4. School Security Cameras Are Helpful to Keep an Eye on Students, Teachers and Visitors

School security cameras can keep a track of everyone in and out of the school entrances.

Some of the students are constantly late for school and often violate school rules. With school security camera footage, the administrators can keep a track of those students, which helps school principals decide how to solve this issue.

Keeping an eye on teachers will let school principals know which teacher is countable for his/her job. More importantly, installing CCTV security cameras (systems) for school classrooms and other places reminds teachers that their performance is important and always being observed.

As public places, there are many visitors entering and leaving schools every day. School CCTV security cameras (systems) make it easier for schools to watch any visitors. It's a useful way to eliminate unauthorized intruders.

School Security Cameras to Protect Teachers and Students

5. School Security Cameras (Systems) Can Give Parents Peace of Mind

As a parent, their angels’ security always comes first. IP security cameras installed on school buses, hallways, classrooms, bathroom entrances, etc. enable parents to be reassuring.

A majority of parents tend to support installing school security cameras, since the surveillance cameras provide a clear indicator that there are some additional measures to protect their children.

Besides the pros, you can also take a look that the school security camera cons if not installed properly.

2. School Security Camera Cons

There are 3 main reasons why some of the teachers and students are against installing school security cameras, and arguing that CCTV shouldn't be installed in school.

Check the disadvantages of CCTV cameras in schools & classrooms below.

1. School Security Camera Biggest Issue: Legality & Privacy Violation

People who protest installing security cameras & systems for schools consider school security cameras as invasion of privacy.

In fact, the privacy issue is regarded as the biggest concern and disadvantages of CCTV in schools       for some.

Teachers and students would concern whether there are any hidden cameras installed somewhere they are not aware of, which would invade their personal privacy.

2. Cost of School Security Cameras & Systems

The cost of purchasing and installing school CCTV security camera systems would be high. Monitoring and maintaining them adds extra expenses. If security cameras are vandalized or stolen by others, it can be very costly.

Good news is that new technology makes surveillance cameras much more favorable while offering easier setup and monitoring. You can take a look at the Part 2 to check some DIY type school security cameras and systems from the top CCTV camera brands.

Some states would offer school security camera grants to ensure the safety of students and teachers in kindergarten, primary school, junior/middle high school, college, university campuses.

3. School Security Cameras Will Influence Trust of Teachers & Students

Another con for CCTV surveillance should not be allowed is that, with the surveillance of school security cameras, teachers and students would feel that the school principals don't trust them.

And everyone is afraid to do anything close to fun for fear that it would be seen as a negative thing and used against them. And the installation of school security cameras could lead to a ”guilty until proven innocent” attitude.

Some of the educators feel that surveillance in schools will create an authoritarian atmosphere, and students may come to school with a sense of apprehension.

In order to protect teachers and students’ privacy, the principal should set up strict school security camera policies in terms of the monitoring and accessing the cameras. For example, it would be better to establish a professional security team to manage the cameras.

Having known the pros and cons of surveillance cameras in schools, you can see that the pros would outweigh the cons.

As long as school security cameras (systems) are installed properly, which doesn't invade teachers’ and students’ privacy, school CCTV cameras will only enhance the safety and security of school teachers and students.

You can check the some high-quality school security cameras and systems below. The recommended picks are all plug-and-play type with favorable prices.

Part 3. Best School CCTV Security Cameras & Systems

How much do school surveillance cameras cost?

The school surveillance camera cost is not necessary that high. Check the below top 2 best CCTV for school to get high-quality security solutions for your schools.

Note: The fake security cameras could save your money but not trouble. Imagine this: Child gets hurt and the school says cameras don't work. When real danger occurs, the fake cameras couldn't help much.

1. RLC-422 School CCTV Security Camera (Start from $84.99)

This security camera is one of the most popular and suitable for institutions. The vandal-proof design protects the camera from being tempered by intruders.

Hot
Reolink RLC-422

PoE Vandal Resistant Security Camera

5MP Super HD; IK10 Vandal Resistant; 4X Optical Zoom; Outdoor/Indoor Protection; 100ft Infrared Night Vision; Remote Live View & Control.

The 4MP/5MP high definition offers super clear images, so you can identify the details you want in case that a crime happens.

You can take a look at the below video captured by this camera to see the clear footage (shared by a customer).

With such versatile CCTV security cameras installed on the public, private, elementary, secondary school campuses, the principals can ensure the safety of both teachers and students.

2. RLK8-410B4 School Security Camera System

This CCTV system for school comes with 4 cameras and 1 NVR for 24/7 recording, which offers you all-around security for your campus.

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Reolink RLK8-410B4

8-Channel PoE Security System

4 pcs 5MP/4MP Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Reliable Recording; Plug & Play; 2 Network Solutions.

With this all-in-one security camera system, you can cover a wide range of your school campus. One of the bonus point of this school CCTV camera system is that it can work in locations where the Internet is unavailable.

So you can still get video surveillance for some of school areas without Internet access.

By installing the 24/7 CCTV security camera systems for the school entrances, gates/doors, school zones, and other public locations, the principals can check what's going on by playing back the recorded videos and make sure everything is on track.

Extra tip: Schools often come to us and ask us to recommend CCTV software. In fact, it's best to use the security camera companion software to avoid compatibility issues. Actually most security camera manufacturer has their own for FREE.

Part 4. Security Camera Installation in Schools

Please check the details of where to and not to install school security cameras. Please note that there are strict laws on audio recording. Without the consent of people being monitored, it's illegal to do sound recording.

It's necessary to install school security cameras in the below locations:

• School parking lots
• School classrooms
• School buses
• Loading and unloading zones
• Hallways and corridors
• Campus entrances and main offices
• Cafeterias and restroom entrances
• Labs and shops
• Gymnasiums

At the same time, school security cameras should not be allowed in the below places:

• Bathrooms
• Locker rooms
• Other places that related to personal privacy

School Bus Security Cameras

If you still have such a question like "Should schools have security cameras", hope you've got the deep insights you want here.

Below we make a list about the frequently asked questions about school security video cameras. If you have other questions, please leave them in the comment below. We'll add a specific answer for you.

Part 5. School Security Camera Hottest Questions

Check the below quick answers to the questions you may have in terms of school CCTV security cameras.

Q 1: Do School Buses Have Cameras?

Do school buses have cameras outside/inside? Do school buses have cameras in Ontario? Do school buses cameras record all the time? Do school bus camera have audio?

A 1: In most cases, there are school CCTV security cameras installed both outside and inside of the buses. And the school bus security cameras would typically do 24/7 video surveillance in case that anything unusual happens.

Laws and legislation have strict regulations in audio recording. So many school bus CCTV security systems would not support recording sound.

The below countries (included but not limited) would normally have school bus security cameras & systems installed, (including school zone cameras).

US Georgia New York City Washington State Seattle Maryland
Chicago Texas Dallas Virginia Massachusetts
Indiana Issaquah Ohio Renton Queens
Bellevue Pennsylvania (PA) CT Florida Cobb County
Burbank, California North Carolina Montgomery County New Jersey Austin
San Antonio Fairfax County Louisiana Longview New Orleans
Michigan Greenville, SC Illinois Brooklyn Spokane
Canada Ontario Ottawa Winnipeg Saskatoon
Australia NSW Sydney Ashtonfield
UK NZ Philippines India

Q 2: Are School Security Cameras Always On?

Do school cameras always work? Do school bus cameras always work? Do school security cameras record all the time? Do schools cameras run on weekends or during the summer/winter?

A 2: Yes, it's necessary to keep school management security camera systems on all the time in case of any unusual events. 24/7 video surveillance cameras can record everything happened for later playback if any crime events happen.

Most school alarm video security camera systems installed in the entrances, library, buses, classrooms and other public places are always on, including summer/winter holidays, weekends, etc.

Q 3: What Do School Security Cameras Look Like?

A 3: School security cameras would typically have 3 types: bullet, dome and PTZ security cameras.

Bullet school security cameras are named for their bullet shape and are also called lipstick cameras, which would be the most common security camera type you often see in schools.

Dome school CCTV cameras typically come with a dome cover. You can often see this type of security cameras in school corridors, classrooms, elevators, etc.

PTZ school surveillance cameras can pan and tilt automatically, which would be commonly installed in wide areas, such as the playgrounds.

You can check more CCTV camera types here.

Q 4: How Long Do School Cameras Keep CCTV Footage?

A 4: On average, the footage recorded by school security cameras would be kept for about 30-90 days, but the recording period would vary among schools and intuitions.

The school security monitoring systems will automatically overwrite the oldest recorded videos once the storage space runs out.

You can read this post to see how long security cameras record.

Q 5: How to View School Security Cameras?

How to watch or access school security cameras?

A 5: In most cases, there would be a specialized team who watch the school cameras live streaming via PC, TV, computers, etc. online or offline.

The staff can access school IP security cameras via downloading the customized monitoring software on the computers and smartphones. The staff can manage multiple security cameras systems at the same time.

Q 6: Do Schools Security Cameras Have Sound?

Can school cameras record audio? Can school bus cameras hear? Do CCTVs produce in secondary school record sound?

A 6: As mentioned above, laws have strict legislation on audio recording. Laws require that one person must know about the audio recording taking place.

So in most cases, there would be no audio recording of school security cameras installed in classrooms, buses, parking lots, libraries, etc.

Q 7: Do School Cameras Work at Night?

Can school cameras see in the dark? Do school cameras have night vision?

A 7: Nowadays almost all types of school security cameras and systems for sale in the market support night vision.

Surveillance cameras in school buses, zones, parking lots and other public places usually work 24/7 for ensuring the campus safety.

Q 8: Is It legal to Have Cameras in School Classrooms?

Are cameras allowed in classrooms? Do classrooms have cameras? Can school put cameras in classrooms?

A 8: It's legal to put security cameras in school classroom, since classroom is a public place.

The pros and cons of school classroom CCTV security cameras have been discussed in the above. Please check them here.

Q 9: Are There Security Cameras in School Bathrooms?

Are security cameras allowed in school bathrooms? Is it legal to have cameras in the school bathrooms?

A 9: Well, installing security surveillance cameras in school bathrooms is definitely illegal.

Putting school hidden cameras in toilets is an invasion of people's privacy. Under no circumstances should school put security cameras in the bathroom, toilets, changing rooms, and other places that related to personal privacy.

If you notice any hidden or spy cameras in the school bathrooms, report to the police immediately.

Q 10: Are There Security Cameras in School Parking Lots?

A 10: Usually, there should be 24/7 security camera systems installed in the school parking lots.

Car and bike vandalism is not rare in school campuses. Installing school parking lot security cameras help to prevent the vehicle and bicycle theft, and also plays an important role on investigating the theft.

In some cases, school bullying may happen in parking lots. School parking lot security cameras would help to prevent it to the greatest degree.

Q 11: How Often Are School Security Cameras Checked?

When are school security cameras checked and on what circumstances?

A 11: Well, most school security cameras are functioning 24/7. And the monitoring staff would typically check the video tape quite often during their working hours.

Well hiring a group of professional monitoring staff could be expensive, it could be the case for most schools that the school CCTV cameras are only checked if there's an incident they need to review.

The school monitoring team will typically back up the important videos before they get overwritten once the storage space runs out.

Q 12: How Good Are School Security Cameras?

How much is a CCTV camera good for schools? What is the importance of security camera system and video devices in school?

A 12: You can check the above top 5 advantages of school security cameras above.

School security cameras do help to deter vandalism, stop school bullying, and offer peace of mind for parents.

With the tragic epidemic of school shooting in recent years, like Columbine High School massacre, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Florida school shooting, it's critical for school leaders to increase CCTV surveillance cameras to the facilities for all-around security.

Based on the statistics, 86% of public schools nationwide reported that one or more serious violent incidents, thefts or other crimes had occurred at their schools, for a total of roughly 2.2 million crimes, which works out to one crime reported for every 20 students. Nearly 100,000 incidents of vandalism are reported in the US public schools every year.

School security cameras (systems) would undoubtedly be effective on deterring school crimes and dangers. We definitely would not let Sandy Hook school tragedy happen again.

If you have any questions or ideas about school security cameras, leave them in the comment below.

  • Cristian Luis Ortiz

    I was accused of sticking toilet paper to the bathroom ceiling, then the next morning, the principal walked by and said ”I've heard you've been throwing toilet paper to the ceiling.” I told her that it wasn't true, but then she says ”I will be checking the security cameras in the bathroom” Its too bad I found this article too late, I could've showed this to her.

    • Hello Christian, we are sorry that you encounter such situation. Installing security cameras in the school bathroom is totally a severe violation of privacy. You can share this post so that more people can know more helpful information on school security cameras.

  • Savana Kotal

    I think that this is safer than most schools in georgia.

  • Richard Mai

    Can a student ask staff to personally look at the video footage? If somthing or someone has stole somthing from their car?

    • Elvia

      Hello Richard, it would be better to let the police get involved to check the footage, since the video tapes would include other people's privacy.

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