A DOZEN schools across Wirral have installed CCTV in toilets, it was revealed last night.
It follows parents of a pupil at Hilbre High, in West Kirby, complaining their son had been punished for blocking one of the cameras.
A council spokeswoman said because schools are largely self-governing they could not be precise but said recently refurbished secondary schools had installed them.
She insisted the cameras are trained only on washbasin areas and are not in cubicles.
Wirral has 27 secondary schools, five special schools and 101 primary schools catering for a population of approximately 50,000 pupils.
According to the council, most schools have external CCTV, but many also have internal cameras, and they had been “very successful in cutting down things like bullying” which occur out of sight of teaching staff.
The revelation follows a man and woman, who asked not to be named, saying they were horrified to discover their teenage son, a pupil at Hilbre High in West Kirby, had been given a detention for “defacing school property”. It later emerged he had been given the punishment for putting Blu-Tack over the lens of the camera.
The furious couple have refused to allow the school to keep the 15-year-old at detention, and say the camera is an invasion of his privacy. Hilbre High says the camera – which shows the sink area and not inside toilet cubicles – was installed after suggestions from students, and there had been no other complaints.
The teenager’s mother said: “We were absolutely horrified when we found out about it.
“How many other schools are doing this and the parents don’t know about it? There’s been no consultation or a letter asking our feelings about it.
“Our son only noticed the camera when he went back after the summer and now he’s reluctant to use the school toilets because he feels it’s an invasion of his privacy.”
Earlier this year, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) set up a working group to look into the use of CCTV and produce guidelines on best practice for schools and colleges.
Hilbre High headteacher Jan Levenson said the cameras were installed following a survey during the last academic year of pupils’ opinions about school life.
She added: “Some of the feedback we received led to discussions with our Student Council regarding initiatives we could implement to make improvements to our school environment.
“One of the suggestions from the students included the installation of CCTV in areas which require greater monitoring, including the vanity areas within the students’ toilets.
“There have not been any other complaints about the cameras, which we would like to emphasise show the sink and vanity area only, and not inside the cubicles, where we would understand there being a concern about privacy.”