If you’re someone who makes important decisions about the daily operations at a private school, you have a lot on your plate.
Between academics, extra-curricular, teachers, staff, students, parents, events, admissions, fundraising, and more, there are so many different things to organize and oversee. The best private schools are well-oiled machines that maintain a balance amongst all of the above.
However, one thing that is most important across all of the above categories is the safety of your students and employees when they are on campus. Private school security is a crucial part of ensuring that everyone in your school feels safe and secure at all times. When safety measures for private schools are in place, students and staff can focus on education without any unnecessary worries.
More and more schools today are beginning to see great value in the installation of security cameras in their classrooms, halls, and other common areas. However, some school administrators don’t really see a need or worry about privacy concerns. If you’re a school employee who is considering adding security cameras to your school property, read on. In this post, you’ll learn the many ways that security cameras can make your private school a better place for all.
Are School Security Cameras Legal?
One of the first questions any school administrator has about installing private school security cameras is in regards to their legality.
Fortunately, it’s legal to install security cameras inside and outside of a school building. In fact, a 2016 study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that cameras are widely used in schools all across the United States. According to that survey, 73% of elementary schools, 88% of middle schools, and 94% of high schools had at least one security camera on the premises.
Cameras can be installed in the parking lot, in the hallways, and in the classrooms with no concerns. However, they cannot be installed in places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy such as in bathrooms or locker rooms.
Furthermore, there is a difference between video and audio recording. Video recording has few limitations in areas where privacy cannot be automatically expected. However, it’s illegal to record conversations between people without their consent. As a result, most school security cameras are video only and have no audio capability.
If you plan to install security cameras on your school’s property, it’s wise to create a policy outlining your school’s surveillance policy. That way, parents, teachers, staff, and students will all be aware of their rights.
In it, you should include a statement about your school’s reasons for installing cameras. It should include the roles and responsibilities of the individuals who will have access to the footage. Also include information about how long footage will be kept.
Everyone is happier when they are informed about measures in place to ensure their security, and a written policy will protect you from a legal standpoint as well.
Advantages of Security Cameras as Safety Measures for Private Schools
There are so many different reasons that safety measures for private schools like security cameras are a wise move. Some are quite obvious; others you may not have thought of before. However, each and every one of them is relevant to any school environment.
1. Crime Deterrent
The primary reason for installing security cameras anywhere is to deter crime. The inclusion of security cameras in a school environment can help to discourage criminal acts from both inside and outside sources. When a potential perpetrator sees surveillance cameras, he or she is less likely to go through with the planned violation. No one wants to be caught in the act.
Even the very best schools are not immune to issues like vandalism, theft, and fights. If something bad does happen on your campus, the cameras will be a great help in investigating and solving any crimes or other problems. The recordings can be turned over to the police if necessary as well.
2. Combat Bullying
Just as criminals will be less likely to perpetrate a crime when they know they are on camera, bullies will be less likely to bully other students when they know their actions are being recorded. If a student is being bullied by another student, he or she can turn to the cameras for proof. This can be helpful when meeting with parents about the bullying.
3. Protection of Students and Teachers
Cameras in the classroom protect students and teachers in a number of ways. Most students are well-behaved, but every once in a while, a student will put his or her hands on a teacher. If a camera is recording the goings-ons in the classroom, there is evidence of this type of behavior.
On the other hand, security cameras in the classroom can allow the administration to watch teachers to make sure all of their behavior is appropriate. Furthermore, if a student accuses the teacher of assault, the cameras can help prove the teacher’s innocence.
4. Peace of Mind for Parents
Hopefully, your school will never experience a crime and your students and teachers will always be on their very best behavior. For most schools, that’s always the case. However, the presence of security cameras in the school environment will give parents at home the peace of mind they so deeply desire. Even if the cameras are never needed, the fact that they exist may be the reason a prospective parent chooses your institution over others.
Are School Security Cameras Affordable?
One of the main reasons schools hesitate to even investigate the possibility of installing security cameras on their campuses is due to concerns about affordability.
However, you might be surprised to learn that today, security cameras are quite affordable. Advances in technology over the past few decades have allowed cameras to become wireless. They also provide much higher quality image quality than cameras of the past. It’s easy to view the recordings on any computer, and there is no need to change videotapes as was necessary with older security systems.
For example, a rudimentary school security camera system might even cost under $1000. Higher quality systems with more cameras can certainly cost quite a bit more. But, you can cover your bases for basic surveillance for a price that is quite affordable and one that will be well worth it in the long run.
If you’re working with a limited budget, you might consider applying for a grant to help your school cover the cost. There are a number of different grants out there that exist to help schools with the purchase of this type of equipment.
Where Should My School Install Security Cameras?
Once you’ve decided to get security cameras for your private school campus, you’ll need to create a plan to determine how many cameras you’ll need.
When it comes to installing school security cameras, the more the merrier. However, you’ll also need to take your budget into account. In a perfect situation, you will want to install cameras pretty much everywhere – except, of course, in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other private spaces.
Most schools install security cameras in their hallways and classrooms. They are also quite helpful in the cafeteria, gymnasium, and on playgrounds. You’ll also want to install them at all campus entrances and especially near the doorways to each of your buildings.
Installing security cameras in parking lots, loading and unloading zones, and on school buses can be a big help as well. The fact that there are moving vehicles in all of these places can lead to accidents. Fortunately, security cameras can aid you in keeping an eye on things and can help you to ensure that everyone stays safe when coming or going from school.
Cameras Are Great for Private School Security
As you can see, there are so many reasons that security cameras are an excellent feature of private school security.
When considering safety measures for private schools, cameras should be an automatic inclusion. They’re affordable and effective, and they are helpful in so many ways. Your students may not like them at first, but they will get used to them quickly. Your teachers, parents and prospective parents will be excited about them right away.
If you’re thinking about installing security cameras on your private school’s campus, we are here to help. We can help you to create a plan for your school that will be helpful for everyone and that will aid you in reaching your security goals. Give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you and we look forward to doing business with you.