CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Guardian
Teachers in two UK schools are trialling using body cameras in class because they are “fed up with low-level background disorder”, a criminal justice academic has revealed.
The Guardian reports that Tom Ellis, principal lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, said all classroom teachers at the two state secondary schools are being given the option of the cameras to film “when necessary”.
The technology, worn by police, parking wardens and even school crossing-patrol officers in Britain, was rolled out in US schools from 2015.
“Most schools now have some level of problems with low-level background disorder in classrooms and the teachers have become quite fed up with not being able to teach,” Ellis told the Guardian.
The former Home Office researcher said the three-month pilot scheme, started within the last month, securely stores footage on a cloud platform like ones used by police forces. The two schools are not being named so as not to interfere with the trial.
“It’s important people realise they are only incident specific,” added Ellis, who says parents have been fully informed and are supportive of the scheme. “The cameras are not on all the time. Where there is a perceived threat to a member of staff or pupil for example, they are used. It’s not like a surveillance camera.”
Ellis also said “filming only occurs when it is legitimate, proportionate and necessary” to resolve problems.
The academic, who sits on the Ministry of Justice’s Race Statistics Advisory Board, has been intimately involved in the rollout of body-worn video cameras for Hampshire police.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said the trial was “a matter for the school”. She added: “The schools are acting within the law as far as we know but we haven’t investigated this matter.”
Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This sounds like an over-the-top response to an age-old problem. These schools have to be very careful about how they use this intrusive technology as it risks turning teachers into snoopers. Parents and pupils must be kept fully informed about the trial and be given every opportunity to raise any concerns they may have.”