body cameras in schools

Two schools in the UK are trialling the use of body cameras in a bid to stop pupil disruption.

The schools, which are currently unnamed to avoid unwanted interference during the trial, will film during incidents in the classroom to tackle ‘constantly low-level disruption’.

Tom Ellis, principal lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, said: “The teachers will be wearing the cameras very visibly, so there’s no attempt to be covert in any way.

“The idea is that everyone is aware that the camera is there and is being used for a specific incident.

“Where the teacher feels there’s a threat to themselves or to another student, then there will be evidence of that incident.”

Times Educational Supplement (TES) surveyed 600 teachers about the body cameras, and results showed 37.7% said they would wear them. The main reason given was for gathering evidence of student behaviour. 62.3% were not as keen on the idea, voicing their concerns of their own privacy, being spied on by management and privacy for their pupils.

Mary Bousted, General Secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “All schools should be safe places for pupils and staff.

“The evidence suggests that the best way to ensure children behave well in schools is for schools to have a good behaviour policy which is accepted by all staff and parents and is consistently applied in the school with sanctions all the pupils understand.

”If schools have good behaviour policies they should not have to resort to using body cameras or CCTV. We would not support schools being turned into prisons.

“CCTV can have a useful role in monitoring entrances and exits to schools to prevent strangers gaining access or vandalism, but we do not support their use in schools to monitor children and staff.”

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