A Colorado high school has installed cameras in some of its bathrooms, and parents are not at all happy about it, The Greely Tribune is reporting.
Windsor Charter Academy Early College High School installed the cameras in four of its bathrooms – two girls’ bathrooms and two boys’ bathrooms – earlier this year without telling the parents. The cameras, mounted on the ceiling, face toward the sinks, and the toilets are not in the cameras’ view. What’s more, the toilets in the school’s remodeled bathrooms are more like toilets in European public bathrooms. The doors are floor to ceiling, rather than having gaps and being cut off a few inches from the floor, like most American public bathrooms. This affords the students even more privacy, say school administrators.
Parent Trevor Garrett isn’t buying it. He says that when he learned about the cameras from his eighth-grade daughter, Kaylee, he was shocked.
“I was floored.”
What’s more, Kaylee told her parents that the students had been aware of the cameras for some time, having been told that they’d be installed. For reasons that remain unclear, however, parents were not notified.
Kaylee says that some students have been using tape to cover the cameras.
Trevor and his wife, Annie, plus another parent who asked not to be identified, went to the principal’s office last week demanding answers. Rebecca Teeples, the executive director of Windsor Charter Academy Schools, confirmed that the cameras were installed without the parents being notified. She also said that they were installed in order to provide extra security for students.
“Every decision we make, we make to make sure our students are as safe as possible in our school.”
As a charter school, Windsor receives public funds but is not administered by the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District in the same way that other public schools are. For this reason, says superintendent Dan Seegmiller, Windsor was able to install the cameras without district approval.
“Installing cameras in restroom facilities is not a practice that we follow in any of our traditional Weld RE-4 schools.”
Are the cameras legal?
The Department of Justice says that cameras are forbidden in schools anywhere a student has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” However, Windsor Charter’s attorney, Bill Bethke, says that students don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they’re washing their hands in sinks. He also notes that other public schools across the country have installed handwashing stations in public areas.
Kaylee says that some students change clothes in the bathrooms, however. Bethke responded by saying that students can change clothes in the stalls or in a locker room, where there are no cameras.
The Garrett’s have since contacted the police about the cameras and were told that there were no criminal violations. However, the family intends to pursue getting the cameras removed, even if that includes filing a lawsuit.
[Featured Image by Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock]