Cameras in classrooms would cause privacy and educational issues

SAFETY FIRST? A security camera watches over students in a staircase at Sevier Middle. A recent bill proposed putting cameras in classrooms, too.


SAFETY FIRST? A security camera watches over students in a staircase at Sevier Middle. A recent bill proposed putting cameras in classrooms, too.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Iowa introduced a bill that would have required cameras in almost every public school classroom across the state, allowing parents to see live streams. Although the bill did not have enough votes to become law, there now is a lot of controversy surrounding whether or not security cameras should be implemented in classrooms.

There are a few reasonable benefits to having cameras in classrooms, such as bullying rates going down and student behavior improving. However, there are lots of issues that come along with those cameras.

The biggest issue, by far, is privacy. A parent won’t only see their own kid, but every other kid in the classroom. A student may not feel comfortable being watched by people they do not know and cannot see. It can make it difficult for students to work efficiently.

Parents may also not be comfortable with a bunch of other adults, strangers, watching their child in class.

A camera could also pick up something a student tries to say privately to a teacher or friend. Suddenly, a private moment was heard by lots of other people. This would be extremely embarrassing to the student.

Students may even get too caught up with how they look or act, not allowing them to be themselves in fear of judgment from a bunch of strangers hiding behind a camera.

This goes for teachers, too. They may be too focused on putting on a show and be too afraid to discuss controversial topics with the students, instead of doing what helps students learn.

There is always a chance that someone outside of the school or family could tap into the camera stream. Cameras, no matter how expensive, can always be hacked. There have been many stories during COVID lockdowns of people hacking into Zoom classroom sessions.

Criminals and complete strangers suddenly could be watching a child’s every move and hearing every word said. A classroom is a community that should be a safe place for students.

Even when not live, the school will have recordings of these students, and how they are kept and used could end up being problematic. Parents could request to see this footage even after the class has ended.

Setting up the cameras would be expensive, too. Average cameras used in schools can cost from $20 to $200, which means one in every classroom would be very costly. Schools may also need to pay a fee to have them installed, adding to the price. Then there’s the internet bandwidth required to stream that many cameras all the time.

All this money, all this effort, could be used for school clubs, kid’s supplies, school events, book fairs, and any number of things that would help students learn.

Cameras in these kinds of workspaces can even be an insult to teachers. A doctor certainly isn’t required to live stream a patient’s surgery. A lawyer won’t stream writing a brief for their clients. Why are teachers, specifically, not trusted to do their jobs?

Some children also have special needs, meaning there are rules about how and when they can be recorded, if at all. Schools may not be able to place a  camera in a class with a student with special needs. Figuring out these exceptions would be a nightmare for school administrators.

Any of these reasons could lead to a child not feeling safe or comfortable in a classroom environment. It’s simply not worth the disruption cameras would cause.

If a parent or guardian wants to watch their child learn, they can partake in home school or one on one tutoring. They can even visit the school and sit in the classes with their kid.

Classroom cameras are not going to be beneficial to students or teachers, and will not encourage students to participate in school. Any idea that would hurt students should never be allowed.