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MfD: More and more schools equipped with security cameras

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – More and more Czech schools have been taking stricter security measures, mainly installing cameras, to protect children since a fatal attack in one of them a year ago, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.
At present, almost a half of secondary schools, one-third of primary schools and 13 percent of kindergartens in the Czech Republic are equipped with a video surveillance system or a closed-circuit television (CCTV), and their number has been rising.
In October 2014, an insane woman stabbed a 16-year-old boy to death, and injured another two girls and a policeman in a secondary school in Zdar nad Sazavou, south Moravia. The tragedy stirred up a debate whether Czech schools are sufficiently protected.
In reaction to it, the Education Ministry announced it would allocate subsidies for the protection of school premises. It received about 300 applications of which it selected 65 schools to divide the subsidies of six million crowns.
However, some of them had a camera-monitoring system installed even before the tragic incident.
Others decided to protect only the mian entrance door that can be opened after setting a security pin code or using a chip card, MfD says.
School head teachers must register the cameras with the Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) and justify why they should be installed.
It adds that schools are often looking for a balance between an efficient protection and unnecessary spying on students.
Some schools have installed cameras not only at the entrance, but also inside, in corridors or students’ dressing rooms, which requires all parents’ consent. Nevertheless, schools usually do not have problems to get it, MfD writes.
The Iuridium Remedium organisation dealing with human rights observance has confirmed it. It says only one or two parents a month turn to it with their doubts about the use of cameras at schools.
Under law, it is up to the school administrator, that is a town or city hall, to secure the protection of school buildings, but it mostly respects the school management’s sovereignty to choose particular measures, MfD says.
Though surveillance cameras are “in” now, they often have rather a psychological effect to discourage possible aggressors and they cannot replace a school caretaker who is also a doorkeeper monitoring who enters the building, the school head teachers addressed by MfD agreed.
($1=23.834 crowns)

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