Advantages of Closed-Circuit Television in Schools

Michele Snoke
Michele Snoke
Elementary school principal; M.S.E. in Educational Leadership
Camera placed in the hallway of a school.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) relies on one or more camera and monitor. The system has the ability to provide students with safety when cameras are installed in appropriate locations and viewing monitors are set up for administrators. Administrators or security personnel are able to identify and record concerning student and/or faculty behaviors occurring in real time. Another form of CCTV can assist with teacher instruction especially in a distance learning environment.

What is Closed Circuit Television?

 CCTV begins with cameras and monitors that serves to provide surveillance of individuals’ activity inside and outside of a school. The cameras are set up in strategic locations around the outside of the school building, hallways, and classrooms. Administrators can legally have cameras mounted in a classroom and only inform the teacher that the camera will be recording during the school day. It is not appropriate for the cameras to be placed in areas of the school that may infringe on the privacy of students and/or faculty. The use of cameras should be document in the school’s handbook for faculty, students, and families be aware that CCTV is used in the school.

Administrators should know how many cameras to purchase, where they will be placed, which will record daily, and who will be monitoring specific CCTV cameras throughout the day. Many cameras can be set not to record during the day or night, but can quickly be set up to record if a situation demands a setting change. Most camera recordings last 30 days.

While CCTV cameras can help with protecting the safety of the school, this technology can also assist educators with documenting favorable and unfavorable student behavior, providing evidence for a teacher to share with administrators that may develop into creating a future educational plan to best support a student academically or to assist the student with making better behavior choices.

Advantages of Having CCTV Cameras in School

An advantage to having CCTV in a school is to provide safety and security for the school’s students and faculty. Most schools first place cameras at the main entrance of the school building. The main purpose of monitoring the front of the school is to give those inside the building an opportunity to see what may be entering the school building and make the decision not to allow someone to enter the school.

Cameras monitoring the inside of the school building are capturing heavy traffic areas in school hallways, possible theft situations or student relationship troubles. Overcrowded hallways may create an accident among students and should be monitored to possibly encourage a change with the hallway traffic patterns. Theft is a concern for faculty and students in a school and with the assistance of CCTV theft may possibly decline. Many times, student relationships have conflicts and when questioned by administrators the stories told are not the same. Reviewing the recorded cameras can shed light on the situation and possibly assist with the best solution or consequence for the students. CCTV is not meant to create an environment where students feel watched, but in a safe place to learn and grow academically and socially.

Another advantage of CCTV is to discover areas of concern with students and/or faculty. When an administrator or teacher initiates a parent conference, the use of the CCTV recordings as examples of areas the student is needing additional support from the school may be helpful to give student real life examples of their child’s behavior during the school day.

Additional advantages of having CCTV in a school include providing camera footage for evidence in a criminal situation, monitoring faculty and staff performance and safety, and recorded footage can support insurance claims. Over the years, CCTV has evolved and developed into an educational tool to be used by teachers.

As an educational tool, teachers can use CCTV cameras to provide live streaming for distance learners or for students within a school building. CCTV can also be used to the benefit of the students and their families by being able to share special events with other students or family members outside of the school building.

How can CCTV Support Education?

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, schools were faced with relocating traditional face to face instruction to behind a screen. CCTV setups were quickly repurposed and used as tools to provide an education for students outside of the school building. Teachers became the only subject recorded by the camera and streamed to students working from home. If schools hosted half in person and half to remote learners, the cameras were also used to create a sense of community among the class of students.

CCTV systems can also be used daily in schools as a broadcasting program. Students can join a broadcasting club where they are assigned roles, such as camera operator or news reporter. Students are taught how to manage the camera, while other students learn how to generate scripts for student reporters to read during the daily broadcast while being filmed by a student directing the camera. A crew of students can be organized to generate cue cards, operate microphones, and research information to be reported. A broadcasting opportunity for students develops oral presentation skills and confidence in giving presentations. Public speaking builds articulation skills for students, reading fluency, and is a confidence builder. CCTV allows daily broadcasts to be viewed by students in individual classrooms or can be recorded to view at a later date.

Closed Circuit Television is an excellent tool to ensure the safety and security of students and faculty inside and outside of school, provide instruction to students not able to learn inside the school building, and can provide an opportunity for students to build upon reading skills.

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