Focusing on teachers' perceptions of the use of school-wide surveilance cameras

Lisa Ann Ross Suarez

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of elementary, junior high and high school teachers on the effectiveness of school-wide surveillance cameras. The areas of concern were the use of cameras for safety and discipline and the infringements on individual rights. A twelve question, written survey was created by the researcher and completed by 356 teachers throughout a Mississippi school district. These teachers were grouped into three different levels. The first group included the district's teachers of kindergarten through sixth grade students. The second groups included the district's teachers of seventh, eighth and ninth grade students. The final group included the district's teachers of tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade students. This survey used a 1 to 5 Likert type scale to rate the teachers' perceptions. The data was collected and analyzed using one way Analyses of Variance (ANOVA). Although all three levels rated the cameras favorably, the analyses identified that there was a statistically significant difference in the area of surveillance cameras as an aid to discipline problems. The high school teachers rated the surveillance system higher than the elementary and junior high teachers did. The high school teachers also rated the justification of funds spent on the cameras at a higher rate than the elementary and junior high teachers did. However, the high school teachers rated the adequacy level of the surveillance system lower than the elementary and junior high school teachers did. No significant difference was found in the area of school-wide surveillance cameras as an aid in school security. Overall, the teachers positively rated the cameras as an aid to the school's safety measures. Responses to questions analyzing the teachers' perceptions on the infringement of individual rights found no significant differences among the three groups. Although the three group means did not indicate the feelings of infringement on individual rights, the junior high teachers did express a higher rating of being observed and evaluated by administrators through the surveillance cameras. Therefore, the teachers in this district rated the school-wide surveillance system in a positive manner in dealing with their safety and discipline concerns without infringing on their individual rights.