Over the last few years, public schools have experienced a shift in safety. Parents, teachers, and administrators are focused on keeping their children and students safe, so security cameras have become an important part of the security discussion.
But like most technology, cameras come with a unique set of privacy concerns. And with the added layer of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), schools have a right to be cautious about putting security cameras up.
After working with the education sector for decades, our technology experts have put together everything we know about how to implement security cameras in school while keeping your students’ privacy intact.
The Connection Between FERPA and Cybersecurity
The FERPA regulations apply to all educational institutions that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education, and it ensures that students’ records are kept private. It applies to any information gathered in a school setting, including recordings made by security cameras.
This means that if you have security cameras in school, you should be aware of the FERPA regulations and make sure that your setup complies with them. To ensure compliance, it’s important to understand the connection between FERPA and cybersecurity.
The main thing to remember is that any footage collected by a school’s security cameras must be treated in accordance with FERPA regulations. This means that the footage should be encrypted, and access to the recordings should be restricted to designated personnel.
It’s also important to note that any data collected from security cameras must be protected from third-party access. This means that the school should have a secure system in place for storing and managing the footage. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the footage is not shared with any third-party vendors.
FERPA violations come with steep consequences. One violation can result in government funding being pulled from a school that could last for years after the incident.
When sharing camera footage, schools have to take special measures to make sure it’s shared only with those who have legal access, that parents have consented, and that other students’ information will also be kept private (e.g., redacted faces and edited voices), among other precautions.
Security cameras in school can be an invaluable tool for keeping students and staff safe. But it’s important to remember that cameras come with privacy concerns, so schools must take the extra step of making sure they comply with FERPA regulations.
5 Ways to Make Your Security Cameras Meet FERPA
Here are our most important suggestions when implementing security cameras in school.
1. Work with Your School’s IT Department
Make sure the IT department is involved in setting up the security cameras so they understand how to store, manage, and share camera footage securely. You can work together to create a security policy, considering you might have more knowledge about FERPA than they may have.
Confirm that your IT department has been through FERPA training and knows the consequences for non-compliance.
2. Utilize Privacy Filters on Cameras
Privacy filters should be used to ensure that individuals’ faces, voices, and other identifying characteristics are blurred. This creates an extra layer of protection and helps keep students’ data safe.
Manual redaction can take several minutes to hours of work for every 1 minute of video content so using software and specialized tools to automate this process is essential.
3. Be Mindful of Video Placement
Security cameras in schools should be placed in common areas of high traffic and must never go into any changing rooms or restrooms.
The best way to decide where to place cameras in your school is to do a comprehensive security audit. This will help you identify any potential weak points in your security system and determine which areas require more camera coverage.
4. Utilize Live Streaming
Live streaming can be a great way to monitor your school’s security in real-time. It allows you to actively review the footage as it’s being captured and helps you respond quickly to any potential threats.
5. Check Your Compliance with an IT Expert
Compliance is a complex matter and it’s always best to double-check with an IT expert. They can help you ensure that your security cameras meet FERPA requirements by looking at the setup, storage systems, and data policies in place.
Maintain FERPA Compliance with the Help of ANC Group
Having security cameras in school is a great way to keep students safe and remain compliant with FERPA regulations. Our team can help you assess your current system for any potential FERPA violations, design a policy that meets all guidelines, install privacy filters on your cameras, and more.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help keep your school safe and compliant!