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ACLU mulling lawsuit over fake cameras installed in school bathrooms


Principal Stephanie Nance thought she had a creative solution to vandalism in some bathrooms at Florida’s Crestwood Middle School, reports the Palm Beach Post: She installed fake surveillance cameras to deter would-be graffiti artists. But the outcry began almost immediately. Parents, who heard about the cameras from their children, wanted to know why their children’s privacy was being intruded upon. “If it is fake, I still have a problem with that,” said Michael Messineo, whose 12-year-old daughter attends the school. “But I don’t know that it’s fake. I don’t know if there were images on a computer somewhere. My concern is the safety of the children.” As quickly as they went up last week, the cameras came back down over the weekend, the school district says. But the incident highlights a growing debate in education about how to balance the safety of students with their right to privacy, particularly in a digital world where the line between public and private is so often blurred. Jim Green, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Palm Beach County chapter, said the ACLU is considering whether to pursue a lawsuit against the school. He said even a fake camera can intrude into the children’s privacy by evoking the feeling of being watched…

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