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At Monday night’s meeting, Ypsilanti Public Schools’ Board of Education discussed the possibility of installing video cameras in district bathrooms and locker rooms.
The discussion came up as the board was reviewing its security and video surveillance policy toward the end of the meeting. It was eventually sent back to the policy committee for further review and additional conditions and specificity.
Among other proposed changes to the existing policy, including signing, notification and reporting, a new paragraph was added that would have given the district the option to possibly install video surveillance equipment in district bathrooms and locker rooms.
The policy stated the move would only be appropriate “when there are serious concerns and when person monitoring is not effective or practical.”
Additionally, the superintendent would be required to get board approval before actually putting the policy into use and would “require strict controls to assure there is no unreasonable violation of privacy.”
Board Vice President Linda Horne was the first to raise concerns about the idea at the meeting.
“I think the public, as well as myself, would have some concerns,” Horne said.
Trustee Andy Fanta said he sees “it as an egregious invasion of privacy.”
He echoed Horne’s desire to get input from the community.
“I don’t think it’s something we should necessarily pull, but something we should discuss,” Fanta said. “I want to hear from members of the audience.”
At this point in the meeting, most audience members had left as it was near the end of the agenda.
Superintendent James Hawkins said, “They’re not going to put cameras in the bathroom.”
He said the district would only consider the use under the most extreme circumstances, such as sever criminal activity.
Board President David Bates pointed out the board would have to consider the move even if a situation did develop that warranted the use. He said the conversation itself would likely stem the use based on unnecessary causes.
“You’re not doing it unless the board agrees,” he said. “It’s going to be discussed by seven people”
Trustee Edward Jackson said, “This would only be done to ensure the safety of the general school population.”