Fears over Big Brother CCTV tactics in North Staffordshire schools
CONCERNS have been raised over the monitoring of CCTV cameras which have been installed in school toilets and changing rooms.
It comes after a report published by Big Brother Watch found more than 100,000 surveillance cameras are now monitoring secondary school pupils across Britain.
And The Sentinel revealed yesterday that at least eight high schools in Staffordshire, one in Cheshire East, and two in Stoke-on-Trent have CCTV in toilets or changing rooms.
These include Madeley High, Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle, Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy in Blurton, Thistley Hough High in Penkhull, King Edward VI High, in Stafford, and Alleyne's High in Stone.
Panasonic Store Camera•20x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens from 24mm...View details
What Digital camera Gold award winning DMCTZ40
SAVE £20 off our store price ONLY with this voucher
Plus you can also claim a SD card or spare battery
Choice of colours, free parking behind store
Terms: Print this voucher and hand in at Panasonic Store Hanley to save £20 off our store price ONLY £269.90
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The Sentinel approached all schools but they declined to comment.
Staffordshire County Councillor Frank Chapman said he was wary of the use of cameras in schools.
The Conservative councillor, below, whose ward includes Madeley High School, said: "If there's the case for them with regards to safety, then I can understand why they are being used.
"My concern is that use of it is properly monitored."
It is understood that the cameras are positioned to show the comings and goings to the toilet and changing room areas, rather than individual cubicles.
The Department for Education said the use of CCTV was down to individual headteachers.
A total of 825 cameras were located in the toilets or changing rooms of 207 schools across England, Scotland and Wales, according to the figures provided by more than 2,000 schools to Big Brother Watch.
Peter Marenghi, a security officer from Greenway Avenue, Stone, believes it is an infringement for cameras to go up in the toilet areas.
Both his sons Andrew, aged 22, and James, aged 25, used Alleyne's High for its sporting facilities when they were teens.
The 53-year-old said: "I hope that this 'Big Brother is watching you' syndrome hasn't gone too far because people can get paranoid.
"I work in the security industry and we rely quite heavily on CCTV so I can understand that it does have its benefits and there can be a real need for it.
"I accept that a lot of bullying may take place in these key areas like changing rooms and toilets but the methods of security have to be appropriate."
Alisha Wood, who has two children at Thistley Hough, defended the use of CCTV.
The 43-year-old from Penkhull said: "The cameras in the toilets aren't intrusive at all. They focus on the sinks and help the school monitor who's been in there, in case there's behavioural problems or vandalism.
"It doesn't concern me as a parent because I know they don't overlook the cubicles."
A spokesman for Big Brother Watch said: "This report highlights an issue that has not been subject to any real public debate and we hope by highlighting the scale of the situation a proper debate can now take place."