It is not uncommon for citizens and public servants to be recorded at work, and it is not even uncommon for schools to use webcams to surveil its own students, so why is it uncommon for teachers?
Parents have voiced concerns regarding the cameras effect on their childrens’ privacy. Ensuring that the cameras in classrooms focus on the teacher and not the students will accommodate privacy concerns from parents. Parents are rightfully concerned regarding the security of the data gathered by classroom cams as well as the potential repercussions classroom surveillance plays in the development of students.
Advocates for classroom cams say that the surveillance will decrease crime, bullying, dropout, and suicide. Whilst it is an important concern that students’ data stays in the right hands, the benefits to child development are worth the consideration. Schools across the country have turned to a 24 hour surveillance system in an effort to reduce the rate of suicide, attributing classroom surveillance with saving the lives of over 700 students who were actively “planning or attempting suicide.”
In 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics surveyed teachers and found that 70% support the adoption of cameras in classrooms in an effort to decrease crime; however not all the feedback from educators has been positive. Some Florida teachers have voiced concerns regarding class cams, describing the motion as offensive, impractical, and unprofessional. Despite this, it’s not uncommon for citizens and public servants to be recorded at work for quality insurance purposes or legal reasons. It is not even uncommon for schools to use webcams to surveil its own students, so why is quality assurance uncommon for teachers?
This year Florida legislators passed two bills instituting cameras in special needs classrooms. These bills were met with nothing but scorn from Florida public schools. The same schools argue that the privacy of teachers will be violated by monitoring activity inside the classroom; however, schools exhibit little hesitation when it comes to violating the privacy of students and teachers.
Putting cameras on school campuses is not a new idea, and thanks to shocking incidents by Florida teachers, many parents and grandparents consider it a safety measure for students and staff. There are already security cameras in many Florida public schools, but not explicitly in every classroom. Under the current arrangement, the only interactions not under surveillance are those between teachers and non-special needs students, which make up the vast majority of student-teacher interactions. Parents on both sides of the political aisle agree that protecting students is the goal, so why are schools so quick to write off a solution that seems to be effective at preventing abuse.