Elementary School Admits It Installed Fake Camera in Boys' Bathroom to Combat 'Inappropriate Behaviours'

After a pupil at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Elementary School in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, discovered a fake camera installed in a bathroom, a Canadian education authority has launched an investigation, according to CTV News Toronto.

The York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB), which oversees the school, said in a statement provided to CTV News that the school board had installed the cameras to combat "inappropriate behaviors causing unsafe and unhygienic conditions in the boys' washroom."

York Regional Police arrived at the school on January 27 to investigate.

Worried about student wellbeing, staff tried to tackle the situation but "were unsuccessful in changing student behavior," according to the YCDSB statement. "As a last resort, school staff installed fake cameras [without recording capabilities] which have since been removed."

YCDSB director of education Ab Falconi said, according to CTV News: "When this was brought to my attention late yesterday, I immediately instructed staff to conduct an internal investigation in order to ensure that nothing like this happens again," adding, "Using fake cameras is not acceptable."

Newsweek has contacted the YCDSB for further comment.

After the student found the camera he notified his mother, who did not want to be named and did not initially believe her son. She instructed him to take a picture of it with an iPhone, an image broadcast on CTV News. The image reveals a black device with a red light on it positioned close to a ceiling light above a urinal.

"When I saw the picture I was like 'Oh my god' I panicked and immediately contacted the principal," the woman told CTV, adding that she had contacted the police even after she was informed by the school principal that it was fake.

A spokesperson for York Regional Police told Newsweek in a statement, "We received a report for this and quickly determined that there were no actual cameras. No offense was committed and the incident is closed on our end."

Earlier this month, a former fifth-grade teacher in New Jersey was jailed for 18 years for secretly filming children in a summer theater camp bathroom.

Thomas Guzzi Jr, 40, covertly filmed an underage boy in a bathroom at camp where he had been a stage manager. He admitted misconduct, manufacturing child pornography and distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography.

Also this month, a man who worked for an elementary school in Texas was arrested after police found a small camera hidden inside a boy's bathroom.

Police said he had put the small device beneath a toilet paper dispenser in a restroom at Northside Elementary School.

Scott Gelardi, 42, was charged with possession of child pornography with intent to promote and invasive visual recording.