Dad blasts Merseyside school for installing 'Big Brother' CCTV inside toilets

The school says the CCTV cameras have been installed in the toilets of Chesterfield High to deter vandalism, anti-social behaviour and vaping in the newly-renovated area. Credit: Liverpool Echo

A father has criticised his children's school for installing CCTV cameras inside one of the toilets.

Chesterfield High School in Crosby, on Merseyside, said cameras have been put in place to deter vandalism, anti-social behaviour and vaping in 'a newly-renovated area' intended for both pupils and members of the public to use.

But the parent, whose two sons attend the school, said it is a "gross invasion of privacy".

"I'm fuming because it has been done without any consultation with parents at all," they said.

"You think they'd give people a reason why they're doing it.

"The Information Commissioner's Office is clear that CCTV in toilets shouldn't be the norm. It's a place of privacy."I just really think it's a gross invasion of privacy. They don't put CCTV in classrooms.

"It has got my back up because it has been done without any consultation at all. It's just another Big Brother thing that people don't like."

Chesterfield High school in Crosby said the camera is designed to act as a deterrent to any form of vandalism or anti-social behaviour. Credit: Liverpool Echo

The camera is pointed at the cubicles which have long doors extending all the way to the ceiling.Chesterfield High School headteacher Kevin Sexton said: “All bathrooms in our school are continuously monitored by a member of staff during break and lunchtimes and this has been in place for a number of years in order to ensure they remain safe spaces and further protected from vandalism and anti-social behaviour.“Over the summer we spent a considerable amount of money renovating and creating a brand new unisex bathroom provision for our students, which contains 20 fully private cubicles, wash basins and other toiletries.

"While this facility has yet to be opened, this will also be subject to in person monitoring by a teacher or member of staff during school hours."The bathroom will also be accessible to the public who use our facilities after hours and on weekends, especially for community and sporting events which take place on our grounds.“Due to the size and layout of this particular bathroom, plus its intended use by the public after school hours, a decision was made to install CCTV to monitor what our staff cannot.“The camera is only able to view the publicly accessible areas of the bathroom and is designed to act as a deterrent to any form of vandalism or anti-social behaviour.

"It also acts as a deterrent to the rise in vaping incidents, which is an issue seen across many schools in the UK.“No student will have their privacy violated yet should anybody feel uncomfortable, they are able to use existing facilities which do not have this additional CCTV provision."

One unhappy parent described the CCTV cameras as a "gross invasion of privacy." Credit: Liverpool Echo

The dad, however, said: "The cubicles are irrelevant. The whole point is the area itself should be a place of privacy.

"I don't agree with it being in toilets in general. I just find it really annoying."I've called the school and I've asked to have a discussion with the head teacher because I really think it should have been done with some sort of statement from the school prior.

"We send our children there. They should be telling us these things."Mr Sexton added that the school had since spoken to the concerned parent "and they understood why we were doing it in the best interest of the school community".

He said parents have now been written to about the new toilets.

Want more on the issues affecting the North? Our podcast, From the North answers the questions that matter to our region.