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Principal rebuffs privacy fears over toilet cam

Published: 10:07AM Thursday July 28, 2011 Source: ONE News

Wainuiomata High School's principal has rebuffed claims that putting security cameras in a set of school toilets could breach students' privacy.

The school caretaker will put cameras in one of three sets of toilets, after some students asked principal Martin Isberg if they could be installed so they don't have to push past smokers to go to the toilet.

"And a caretaker tells me if there's any tagging at school it's in the toilets," Isberg told TV ONE's Breakfast.

"So we know of a few other schools that have had cameras in their toilets for a while, so we thought 'let's give it a go'," he said.

The Privacy Commissioner's Office has said schools need to be very careful with the placement of cameras, and recommended positioning them outside the toilet block entrance.

The office said there would need to be extraordinary circumstances to justify putting up cameras looking into toilet cubicles or in areas where people might be changing clothes.

But Isberg said that if the cameras were outside the toilets and one student did tagging inside at lunchtime, all those who had been in and out of the block during the break would be under suspicion.

He said the school is just trying to narrow down those causing problems and "create a nicer place for the kids who want to go to the toilet".

And Isberg said the students don't tend to get changed for physical education in the toilets because it's a fairly confined area.

"We've got three sets of toilets and we're only going to put the cameras in one set. So if the kids are uncomfortable with that they can go to the other two sets," he said.

Isberg said as well as some students asking for cameras in the toilets, a mother had asked him why there wasn't soap in the toilets. He said that's because it regularly disappears.

He said the toilets with cameras will be painted and soap dispensers will be put on the walls.

"They'll be nicer places than what they probably are at the moment."

Isberg also said the Board of Trustees, made up of parents, is fine with the idea of the cameras. When he announced the plan at a senior school assembly just before the holidays "the kids clapped, they thought it was a great idea".

"The majority of kids just want to go to the toilet, so let's do what we can to help them out."

Isberg said another school that has had cameras in toilets for a number of years has told him they that have been accepted and that all the graffiti, tagging and damage to the toilet "has just disappeared".

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  • bobalot19 said on 2011-07-27 @ 19:34 NZDT: Report abusive post

    As a senior student at Wainuiomata High School i feel that the installation of camera's into the toilet blocks is a great idea if it means that it will create a safer and cleaner environment for students. At the moment the way they are used is causing students to either go home or hold on all day so camera's are looking like a great thing to have for the students sake .

  • Kiwi in Sing said on 2011-07-27 @ 12:58 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It's a no-brainer. You advise the kids the camera is in the washroom area (and of course they will see it anyway) and that will prevent anyone getting naked in front of it. All that should be happening in that part of the toilet is coming and going and handwashing.

  • buggeryou said on 2011-07-27 @ 11:37 NZDT: Report abusive post

    you have 2 be kidding