School Installs 'Creepy' Cameras in Boys' Bathroom Despite 'Disturbed' Parents

A school in Devon, England is under fire for installing CCTV cameras in the students' restroom.

According to reporting done by Devon Live, students at the secondary school now feel "awkward" using the monitored bathrooms, especially because the cameras appear to look over the urinals.

The parent of one child, who asked to remain anonymous, was appalled when she saw her son's photo of the camera in the restroom. She explained her son "doesn't feel comfortable" with the CCTV cameras' installation: "He doesn't know who watches it, or for what reason, and that makes him feel really awkward about using the toilets now."

"I can't really blame him," she added. "I certainly wouldn't use a toilet with a camera in the same room."

The school, however, has promised parents and students that the cameras don't film the urinals or inside the stalls. "The cameras that are installed in our toilets do not cover the urinal area or the inside of cubicles," a spokesperson for the school said. "Those areas are blanked out of the field of vision on installation and if the parent had approached the school their concerns could have been addressed immediately."

The use of CCTV cameras is reportedly common in British schools, and the practice is protected by The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The cameras are a way to watch for bullying and other unwanted behavior, particularly in the remote areas of campus.

CCTV camera
A school is under fire for installing CCTV cameras in the students' restroom. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The school told Devon Live that installing CCTV cameras in their bathrooms was not a new practice, but one that spans "many years." According to the spokesperson, "The first installation within our toilets—over 10 years ago—was a result of requests for them via Student Voice and there was a consultation with students, staff and governors to agree on the installation."

This information doesn't seem to assuage some parents' worries.

"It's beyond disturbing. I appreciate the school will say it's to stop vandalism or bullying, but this is just creepy, not to mention completely unnecessary over the urinals," said the same mother.

"There's enough dodgy stories coming out of schools without them installing CCTV in the children's toilets too," she added. "Surely there has to be a better option?"

It remains to be seen if the Devon school will continue to monitor the students' restroom via CCTV camera, or if they will end the practice.