Video Camera Surveillance in Public School Settings: Emerging Technologies, Privacy, and the Role of the Fourth Amendment

Organization: NC State University
Author: Kevin Brady
Published: December 1, 2006

In the area of electronic security, video surveillance has become one of the fastest growing industries with an estimated $9.2 billion in sales in 2005 and projected sales of up to $21 billion by 2010. One of the more recent and controversial trends being used to safeguard school safety has been the installation of video camera surveillance systems throughout our nation’s schools. The origins of video camera use by school officials can be traced back to the late 1980’s when school buses were equipped with video cameras as a means to improve student discipline, prevent vandalism, and avoid potential litigation with parents. Recent evidence reveals that the installation of video camera surveillance in public schools has become noticeably more commonplace. In 2002, for instance, nearly 1,000 new public schools were opened and approximately three-fourths of them were equipped with some form of video camera surveillance. In 2003, the Biloxi Public School District in Biloxi, Mississippi received national media attention by becoming the first public school district in the nation to install video surveillance cameras in every classroom.