School officials get into trouble from time to time with surveillance cameras. While this most often involves situations where camera footage documents ineffective student supervision leading to safety incidents or the use of dummy cameras which can create a false sense of security, there are situations where recordings are made in student restrooms, locker rooms and other areas where a higher degree of privacy is expected.
In this situation, Middle School Principal Wendee Long was indicted by a grand jury in Denton, Texas for allegedly having her daughter film a coach who was supposed to be mistreating students. The indictments pertain to two felony counts:
- Improper photography or visual recording
- Unlawful interception, use or disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications
After the tape was made, someone sent copies to school board members. Long has been placed on administrative leave.
While as in any case, additional facts are likely not available to us, the situation demonstrates that the use of cameras to record images and sound in schools can be a very sensitive issue and that there are a number of legal issues that must be considered before cameras of any type are used.