NEPN/NSBA Code: ECA-1
The School Committee seeks to promote and foster school safety and a safe and effective educational and work environment. After having carefully considered and balanced the individual’s right to be free from invasion of privacy with the School Department’s interest and duty to promote the health, welfare and safety of students and staff as well as the health, safety and welfare of members of the general public who have occasion to use school facilities and enhance the protection of school property, the School Committee supports and reserves the right to place and use security cameras, when necessary and appropriate, in its schools, school facilities, school buses and/or on its school grounds.
Purpose of Security Cameras
The primary uses of security cameras are as follows:
(i) to promote a safe environment by deterring conduct that violates the law, School Committee policy and/or school based rules; and
(ii) to record images for future identification of individuals in the event of violations of law, School Committee policy and/or school-based rules;
(iii) to aid in search of lost or missing children, and
(iv) to assist emergency services personnel.
Security camera use is limited to uses that do not violate federal or state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure, reasonable expectation of privacy and other applicable laws prohibiting wiretapping and electronic security of aural communications.
Security cameras will be utilized in public areas of schools, school facilities, school buses and school grounds and in areas of schools, school facilities, school buses and school grounds deemed to be at risk for either vandalism or student misconduct.
Security cameras will not be used in the private areas of restrooms, showers, locker rooms and dressing rooms and any other area in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Security cameras also will not be used in private offices and classrooms. Security cameras will not monitor or record sound and will not make audio recordings unless by Court Order and in compliance with wiretap statutes.
The use of security cameras and the monitoring of any resultant recordings will be conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner and in a manner consistent with all existing Yarmouth School Committee policies and state and federal laws and will not be based on a subject’s personal characteristics, including race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or other protected characteristics.
Security cameras are not a guarantee of safety but are a tool that helps deter crime and assist in promoting the safety and security of individuals and property. Security cameras are implemented as a passive system; no school staff will be designated to view live events in real time on a minute by minute basis. Additionally, security cameras shall not utilize automatic identification, facial recognition, or automatic tracking technologies. Only authorized school personnel, as determined by the Superintendent of Schools or designee, shall be involved with and/or have access to security cameras and any resultant recordings. Additionally, security cameras will be installed and configured to prevent tampering with or unauthorized duplication of recorded information. Furthermore, no security cameras will be installed unless said installation has been approved in advance by the Superintendent of Schools.
Security camera recordings are not considered Directory Information and may be subject to confidentiality restrictions, including but not limited to requirements under the Federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. In no instance will security cameras be used to observe and/or evaluate the performance of school district staff or to monitor employees during non- working time. However, cameras may be used to monitor areas in which an employee works, even if there is only one employee in that area. Cameras installed or utilized for criminal investigations by law enforcement agencies are subject to appropriate state and federal laws and are excluded from the scope and application of this policy. This policy also does not apply to legitimate academic use of video cameras for educational purposes that have been approved by a school principal.
Implementation, Installation of Security Cameras
To further the Yarmouth School Department’s objectives, the District Leadership Team (DLT) shall meet as necessary to develop, implement and review both school district and building level safety practices. The DLT shall also make recommendations to the Superintendent of Schools or designee regarding the implementation, installation and use of security cameras.
The Superintendent of Schools or designee shall retain final decision-making authority regarding the recommendations of the DLT. In determining the most appropriate use and implementation of security cameras in the schools, school facilities, school buses and/or on school grounds, the DLT’s recommendation will be guided by, at a minimum, the following considerations:
a) Demonstrated need for the device at designated location(s);
b) Appropriateness and effectiveness of proposed protocol(s);
c) The use of additional, less intrusive means to further address the issue of school safety (e.g., restricted access to buildings, use of pass cards or identification badges, increased lighting, alarms);
d) Right to reasonable expectation of privacy and other legal considerations; and
e) Expense involved to install and to maintain the use of security cameras at designated location(s), including without limitation, schools, school facilities, school buses and/or on school grounds.
The Superintendent of Schools or designee shall maintain a current up-to-date record of locations of installed security cameras.
All Yarmouth School employees involved in video monitoring of public areas will perform their duties in accordance with the practices outlined in this policy.
Security monitors shall be located in an area to which access is controlled and shall not be viewable by unauthorized persons.
Video recording may only be monitored by the Superintendent of Schools, Director of Business Operations, Facilities Director, Transportation Supervisor, School Principals and Assistant Principals, Athletic Administrator, and other select Yarmouth Schools staff as authorized by the Superintendent of Schools. No unapproved employees may monitor or view video or camera images for any reason except as necessary in the course of an investigation or adjudication.
Any employee violating this policy may be disciplined, up to and including termination.
All staff approved to monitor video or camera images shall receive a copy of this policy and provide written acknowledgment that they have read and understand this policy.
Any video recording used for security purposes in schools, school facilities, school buses and/or on school grounds shall be the sole property of the School Department and stored for no more than one month after which such recordings will be promptly erased unless retained as part of a criminal investigation, court proceeding (criminal or civil), or other bona fide use, as approved by the Superintendent of Schools or designee; and the Superintendent of Schools or designee will be the custodian of such recordings and all such recordings shall be properly protected from unauthorized viewing. A record log will be kept of all instances of access to and use of recorded material.
Release of Information
Requests for viewing a recording must be made in writing to the Superintendent of Schools or designee and all public records requests for recordings that are received will be forwarded to the legal counsel for review. The request shall identify the individual for whom access is sought, the date(s) and/or time period(s) for which access is sought, and the rationale why access should be granted. If the request is granted, such viewing must occur in the presence of the Superintendent of Schools or designee. Under no circumstances will the School Department’s video recording be duplicated and/or removed from the School Department premises without the express written authorization of the Superintendent of Schools or designee.
Signage and Notification Regarding Use of Security Cameras
Appropriate and conspicuous signage will be posted at entrances to schools, school facilities, and school grounds and/or at major entrances into schools and school facilities, school buses and school grounds notifying students, staff and members of the general public of the School Department’s use of security cameras. For exterior cameras, signage will be posted in a conspicuous place in close proximity to the security camera; and for interior cameras, signage will be posted in a conspicuous place at or near the entrance to each place being monitored.
Students and staff will receive additional notification, as appropriate, regarding the use of security cameras in the schools, school facilities, school buses and/or on school grounds. Such notification may include, but is not limited to, notice of the use of security cameras being published in employee handbook and any school-based student handbooks, and this policy shall be posted on the School District’s website. Such notification does not preclude, as deemed appropriate by school administration, the discussion of the use of security cameras with staff and students to heighten awareness and help foster a sense of security.
Destruction and/or Tampering with Security Cameras
Any individual who tampers with or destroys a video security camera or any part of the video security system will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as possible criminal charges.
Adopted: November 18, 2021