YOUNG VOICES

Teachers Trial Bodycams Used By Police To Combat Unruly Student Behaviour

66% teachers would feel 'safer' in the classroom if everything was recorded.

08/02/2017 11:07

“Fed up” teachers are reportedly using bodycams, as worn by police, in an attempt to combat unruly pupil behaviour. 

Crime justice researcher Tom Ellis told the Guardian that teachers in two state secondary schools are testing the devices in a three-month experiment to tackle “low-level background disorder”. 

The cameras are already used in a number of schools in the US. Worn on the chest, the technology films continually, but only records the encrypted footage when teachers press a button. 

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Schools are trialling the use of bodycams in classrooms to try and combat unruly student behaviour

It is believed the footage will be used as evidence to discipline students and to show to parents. 

“The cameras are not on all the time,” Ellis said. “Where there is a perceived threat to a member of staff or pupil for example, they are used. It’s not like a surveillance camera.

“Most schools now have some level of problems with low-level background disorder in classrooms,” he added. “Teachers have become quite fed up with not being able to teach.” 

A Times Education Supplement survey of more than 600 teachers released today showed that two-thirds (66 percent) would feel “safer” in the classroom if everything was recorded. 

A further 38 percent said they would be prepared to wear bodycams in the classroom. 

The devices are currently used by police in the UK, with the Metropolitan Police handing out thousands of the cameras to frontline police officers in October.  

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The footage will be used as evidence when disciplining pupils (stock image)

The move to introduce the technology in classrooms has led to mixed reactions among parents. 

Bobby Seymore wrote on Facebook: “Whatever next? A shining example [of] where a teacher has lost control of their class.

“Reduce class sizes first and always be honest with students and this will go a long way to encourage mutual respect.” 

But Sam Yendall, who has worked in education, believes the cameras are a necessary step. 

“As long as the footage is seen by the right people and not leaked, then yeah, go ahead,” he added.

“I was a teaching assistant a few years ago, and this idea crossed my mind a fair few times.” 

Teacher and education writer Tom Starkey added: “I have witnessed countless physical assaults as a teacher and have been physically assaulted while teaching on a number of occasions.

“I’m unsure that a body cam would have acted as a deterrent, but it would have been an easy way to evidence these assaults.” 

The Information Commissioner’s Office told the Times that schools were free to use cameras as long as they complied with the data protection act and the surveillance is “legitimate, proportionate and necessary”. 

A Department of Education spokeswoman said the trial “is a matter for the schools”, which were reportedly not named in case it interfered with the pilot scheme. 

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