HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Some Houston County parents are upset after it was announced that cameras will be installed in bathrooms at their children’s school this year.
News that came out before the Houston County School system made parents aware.
“It bothers me very much because we are arresting people for child pornography and (now we’re) invading people’s privacy. I mean, what is this?” Brittany Adams, a parent of a Houston County student, said. “Did they come and talk to us about this? No.”
The cameras go into each middle school, high school and elementary school in the county, except Rehobeth Primary.
Superintendent Brandy White said they got a positive response from most parents when they approved cameras for classrooms as well as bathrooms last year.
“We started looking into the legalities of how we can do this,” White said. “You cannot face a camera towards a urinal, stall door, or a mirror that would reflect. “You certainly dont want to invade a student’s privacy or make them feel comfortable.”
The school system plans to place domed-shaped cameras – that cannot be tampered with – either at the entryway or in the common area of the bathroom in an effort to reduce bad behavior, such as fighting.
“When we started looking at most of the problems, they occurred in the restrooms, so we want to at least know who’s going in and who’s coming out,” White said. “We won’t see everything, but it would hopefully prevent some of them from doing things knowing it’s a camera right there.”
But some question — why now? There have been incidents in the past and parents like Adams are not sold on the idea that cameras will prevent any problems that could happen in bathrooms.
“Once this starts, this will be the largest thing you have to watch: you have to watch your kids and make sure they don’t change first thing in the bathroom,” she said. “Just because you have cameras don’t mean they can’t take somebody in the stall and beat the heck out of them or vape. Kids are smart these days.”
The district said there will be signage saying the restroom is under surveillance.
After hearing a few concerns, White has talked with parents like Adams and said they do understand the need.
“We do plan to go to the first PTO meeting for every school and answer questions and concerns they may have, and we hope to have a visual of what the cameras will actually show,” White said.