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Friday, 5 November, 1999, 16:28 GMT
School puts spy cameras in toilets
girl smoking
The school wants to stub out smoking in its toilets
A school has installed closed circuit television cameras in its toilets to try to stop pupils smoking there.

The cameras were put into both girls' and boys' toilets at the East Brighton College of Media Arts during the half term holiday.

Principal Tony Garwood said the aim was to prevent pupils from smoking in the toilets, to stop grafitti, and to make them a "safe" environment for younger children.

But some pupils have complained that their privacy is being violated.

The cameras are among a number which have been installed around the college, which in September replaced the former Marina High School under the government's "fresh start" scheme for failing schools.

'Smokers' dens'

Mr Garwood said the camera lenses were fixed to focus on the "circulation areas" of the toilets, and did not monitor toilet cubicles or urinals.

The monitor was observed by staff in the main office of the school, which has 500 pupils aged between 11 and 16.

"Every school I've worked in has had a problem with older girls taking over the toilets, and possibly using them as smokers' dens," he said.

"This means the toilets will be safe for Year 11 children to go into, and parents can know they are suitable environments.

"It's not the case of spying on children going to the toilet."

Some children had been shown the monitor to reassure them the school was not "infringing their liberties", he said.

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See also:

20 Jul 99 | Education
Schools face smoking ban
22 Oct 98 | Health
Tobacco's young addicts
14 Oct 98 | Education
Internet cameras to guard school?
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