HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — After receiving backlash from parents, the Houston County school system is further discussing the legalities of their plan to place cameras in school bathrooms.
The cameras will be placed in bathrooms at each school to monitor students looking for problems, such as fighting, according to Superintendent Brandy White.
Some parents, like Brittany Adams, have voiced concerns about their children’s privacy. However, legally, there are not extremely specific laws in the state on where cameras can and cannot be placed.
In Alabama, cameras are generally not allowed where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” such as in dressing rooms.
Houston County DA Russ Goodman said that the right to privacy stems more from years of case law and previous court rulings than from specific statutes.
While students have rights, they do not have the same level of rights as adults in a public space.
For example, is someone had a locker at a bus station, police would need a warrant to search it, but students don’t have that protection.
“Students are entitled to their privacy but because they are in a school their expectation is not as high as in a public place for you and me,” Goodman said.
Before signing off on the plan, the school system’s attorney talked with Houston County’s district attorney and other lawyers about the legality.
“I met with Superintendent White and have personally observed what they are planning on doing and (where they’re) placing the cameras; In my opinion, they are in the confines of the Alabama law,” Goodman said.
These proposed cameras will be placed above the door and will show just the common area — no urinals or stalls. In some cases, depending on the layout of the bathroom, there will not be a camera inside but outside the bathroom above the door to see who’s going in and coming out.
The district is still deciding where to place the cameras so they don’t expose students or violate their privacy.
They expect to have a better idea following future PTO meetings with parents.