Two unnamed schools have instructed their teachers to start wearing body cameras by way of a trial. The devices will be similar to those worn by police and the idea is to record unruly kids involved in “constant low-level disruption”, according to reports.
This isn’t an educational blog but there are privacy implications. What should teachers tell the parents. and what if the teachers don’t want to wear the things: a Times Education Supplement survey has found that one in three teachers is already willing to try it.
However, Chris Keates General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, queried the usefulness of the idea:
This is an issue which is fraught with difficulty, not least in relation to safeguarding pupils and also the safety and security of staff.
If the purpose of wearing body cameras is to tackle discipline then using a camera in and of itself doesn’t prevent violent or poor pupil behaviour, similarly if it is for the purposes of supporting school improvement, you don’t need a camera for teachers to be able to realise when pupils are engaged or disengaged in their learning.
The mechanics would be relatively simple. The teachers wear the camera and also a forward-facing screen so that the kids know they’re being filmed. Presumably the parents would have to give their consent in advance as there are ethical if not legal implications behind filming other people’s kids. Only if the teacher presses a specific button is the video retained.
However, the usefulness as well as the ethics and privacy issues continues to attract attention. Writing in The Times (paywalled link) after the same paper broke the story nationwide, columnist and broadcaster Jenni Russell said:
If the relationship between pupils and teachers is so antagonistic that the point is to collect proof of just how bad it has become then the struggle to motivate and educate that child has already been lost. The children who behave this way won’t be shamed by the evidence – it may even become a trophy.
13 comments on “How would you feel about your kids’ teachers wearing a body camera?”
It could have the same effect as police body cams, less people acting like idiots once they know they are being filmed.
Agree with Mahhn. I don’t have a problem with my kids being filmed at school if it makes them safer from their misbehaving or bullying or just plain violent peers
and just where are they going to get the money to purchase all that they’ll need for every teacher?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ lol, not going to happen.
You’d be amazed and what some schools will find money for when they want something
Having taught in a school with some of the most challenging pupils in this area, I know that, a) some pupils don’t give a d**n about their poor behaviour being videod, b) some pupils have no need of their behaviour being videod as it’s perfectly acceptable, and c) some [the majority, “floating voter”] will be inhibited from behaving badly if they know that there will be evidence of that. From time to time (in the days before people were quite so precious about having permissions for everything) I used a VHS video camera (it was stood on top of a cupboard) for this purpose, and it did have a positive effect on the majority; only the really damaged pupils did not respond positively.
These days whatever kids do, their parents believe they are angels. Filing their bad behaviour to be able to show the parents will be an eye opener to parents, and with kids making malicious claims against teachers and the kids being presumed innocent and the teachers guilty until proven otherwise, having video evidence which is fact based should be better for the protection of all. Sad that it has come to this, but it is unfortunately inevitable.
I would have welcomed the opportunity to 1) see if the students would reduce outright silliness and aggression on their own with less time wasted in class on my interventions (yes, Sean, I’m talking about you setting fire to Nick’s jacket), and 2) reduce parent lawsuits against the school for “abuse of power” when their kids were escorted to the office by the security guard. Mind you, I’ve been retired for 11 years and started teaching in 1972, so these problems are long-standing and deserving of a solution, though I agree that funding will probably never magically appear.
What is the world coming to when teachers need to wear body cams?
For a moment I could have sworn this would have been a story from the USA, not the UK….
Now, back in my day, the threat of a wrap round the back of the knuckles with a wooden ruler (not one of the small ones – we are talking one of the 1 metre ones, here), or a visit to the principals office was a good enough deterrent to prevent us misbehaving.
And if you go back a bit further the threat of the cane certainly kept the older generation in line.
Maybe a return to those days would sort these young whipper-snappers out.
In a time where parents will side with the child against the teacher(no matter what), can you blame the teachers for wanting evidence? This should be less of an issue about motivating children not to do something, but more about a motivation for parents to do something about their undisciplined children. A teacher is there to teach, not discipline someone else’s child; and certainly not to receive abuse from parents.
Agree its a tough one. I would agree that the pupils this would be designed to record in case evidence is needed to be presented to the education authorities, law enforcement, parents and other groups would not be a deterrent, pupils who are badly behaved, constantly disruptive, violent towards pupils and teachers see nothing wrong with their behaviour and as mentioned would be very proud of their antics if caught on camera and the parents of these children care even less or worse condone this behaviour. Therefore cameras are not going to stop the worst offenders. For use as evidence should action be required by governing bodies or the police then this may be useful if those organisations can be bothered to take action which I doubt because they are all scared of how far they will have to go to resolve any issue. Plus there is the cost and of course the lack of co-ordination between education authorities, child services and any other agencies which are so ineffective its a joke. Add to this the privacy and human rights aspects of every individual including the disruptive kids and the whole thing is a none starter, you are not going to get all parents to agree to this so it is pointless. So what actually happens is then this idea that if pupils have gotten to a point where they are so badly behaved then it must be the teachers fault for not being engaging, nothing to do with the fact that these kids are just doomed from the start and have no adequate decent parental guidance to start with. Society is broken, parents need to be made accountable for their kids and suitably penalised for their bad behaviour, we need to educate parents and kids how to behave in society and these people need to stop blaming everyone else for their problems such as no money, no job etc… These people seem to have money for alcohol, tobacco and other substances and for big TV’s and games consoles. These people need to to be taught to prioritise the important things in life like family and communication and tolerance and other positive values and that to be happy we do not need physical goods. Where people need genuine help into work and help with education or health we should be giving it in order to improve everyones quality of life but sadly every organisation that provides these services are squeezed year in year out including education services so it is no wonder none of these services work well. As long as the country remains in the state its in, these problems are not going away any time soon.
Some schools are already recording classes, sometimes just for teacher assessments, so if you as a parent object to this then you might want to make enquiries with the school Head 🙂
I would be OK with my child’s teacher wearing a body cam for a time, if appropriate privacy and security measures were taken. I would want an independent person/panel of people who would have a clue about the issues to review how to implement and what permissible use of the footage was ahead of time. I can imagine the body cam being damaging and I can also envision it being a useful tool. I can say the same thing about a hammer but people use hammers. I have another perspective. You see, I have a special needs child who has been bullied and I wish I could put a body cam on my child at school should the problem arise again so the bully cannot lie with impunity. You don’t need to agree with me. You don’t need to offer me advice about how to look after my child. Just be respectful.
Do schools still have communal showers? If so, I hope the lenses immediately steam up.