Nov 232010
 
 November 23, 2010  Featured News, Surveillance, Youth & Schools

Katherine Leal Unmuth reports:

Ever wonder who’s watching the kids?

In several school districts across North Texas, thousands of security cameras monitor students during the school day, in an effort to keep campuses safe.

As some school districts bulk up the number of cameras in schools, others are questioning access among administrators, security officers and even police departments. Districts must weigh privacy rights with safety concerns.

Some districts are reportedly making live feeds directly accessible in real-time to police. Yikes! And the state is not providing policies or guidance? Double yikes:

The districts’ actions in many ways depend on differing interpretations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA. Some believe they are education records that must be protected, while others view them as law enforcement records.

“There’s no expectation of privacy in a public school,” said Perlich, the Richardson police spokesman. “The inside of their backpack is personal, but the inside of the school itself – no.”

Texas Education Agency DeEtta Culbertson said the agency does not offer specific guidelines on access to security cameras.

Curtis Clay, director of programs for the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University in San Marcos, said he supports making footage accessible to police.

Read the whole news story. Really – read the whole thing.  Kudos to Unmuth for her coverage of this and the details in her report.

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