HIGHFIELDS head teacher Eddie Wilkes has defended the decision to install CCTV cameras in toilets used by schoolchildren as young as 11.
The Matlock school is among 207 others across the country that has been identified by civil liberties campaigning group Big Brother Watch.
In data published last week, the group have condemned the practice and said that it raised serious questions about the privacy of schoolchildren.
The news has also provoked a strong reaction by readers on the Matlock Mercury Facebook page and the subject continues to divide public opinion.
Marie Taylor said: “The schools ask for permission from parents and carers before a school photograph is taken – so where is our kids protection when there is CCTV installed in our children’s toilets? What a joke. I certainly would not give permission for this.”
Lianne Swindell said: “I don’t see a problem with them covering entrances, as long as they don’t cover the cubicles.
“I was bullied [at school] and for those of you who weren’t – you will not understand the need for security in these areas. CCTV covering toilets would have made school life less painful for a lot of people as the bullies, drug users and smokers would have been caught and disciplined.”
Mr Wilkes said the installation of ten CCTV cameras at Highfields School had followed extensive consultation with governors, students, parents and staff over where the school was planning to place cameras.
He said: “Whilst the entrance and exit areas to some toilets are covered, there are no private areas in the scope of the CCTV system. The school used the installation of cameras to reduce levels of damage done in these areas and also to tackle some bullying issues. They did have a positive impact on both fronts.”
Mr Wilkes added that the cameras had been installed ‘some years ago’.
Former pupil Holly Walker said: “Most of the bullying I experienced was around the toilet entrance when I attended so I have mixed views. It is much the same in shopping complexes and I don’t hear much outcry about that.”
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