Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WHY WE'VE PUT CCTV IN SCHOOL TOILETS; EXCLUSIVE Head Defends 'Safety' Move

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WHY WE'VE PUT CCTV IN SCHOOL TOILETS; EXCLUSIVE Head Defends 'Safety' Move

Article excerpt

Byline: By MIKE BLACKBURN

A TEESSIDE school today defended its controversial decision to install surveillance cameras in pupils' toilets.

Thornaby Community School says the CCTV cameras have been fitted to improve student safety and to "deter vandalism or inappropriate behaviour".

To protect pupils' privacy, the cameras - installed in both the male and female toilets in a new dining area - have been sited facing the sinks and not the cubicles. Headteacher Linda Russell-Bond said parents were told of the move, and today assured any who still have concerns that they are welcome to contact the school.

It is believed to be the first school on Teesside to adopt such tough security measures.

The CCTV cameras, which will be monitored internally, were installed during the summer holiday as part of the school's ongoing development to improve both its physical and social environment.

Part of this development saw three disused classrooms turned into a new dedicated eating and social area.

Mrs Russell-Bond told the Gazette that surveillance cameras have been fitted in the toilets in this area only.

"The cameras have been placed to deter any vandalism or inappropriate behaviour and ensure all students are safe," she said. "Obviously the cameras point only to the basin area, again to deter any inappropriate use."

One concerned parent who contacted the Gazette questioned if the CCTV cameras in the pupils' toilets were legal.

But the school reassured parents that they are, and said they were fitted with full consultation and advice from the national CCTV Advisory Service.

Robyn Sones, of the CCTV Advisory Service, who advised the Thornaby school and who runs a national CCTV information website, said secondary schools across the country are increasingly fitting cameras in toilets.

"The alternative is you have this one area of the school which isn't monitored and is very susceptible to vandalism," he said. …

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