Subscriber Discussion

Cameras With Audio Recording...In The Classroom???

I'm putting together a bid for a school district that is implementing a new surveillance system. In the architectural drawings, there is a camera and microphone drawn into each classroom. I've searched and searched for specific cases of how other districts handled this, but only came up with vague instances, and none in which this was taken to court in a one-party state.

My biggest concern is that we are located in a one-party state, which would be against the law to record any conversations going on in any classroom with a microphone. Could the district skirt this by simply notifying all faculty, students, and parents that audio recording is taking place? Or is this just illegal all the way around?

Also, should we win this contract and the work performed, is the integrator liable for installing audio recording equipment where it shouldn't be installed?

Does anybody have cases they can point me towards on this, or any light you can shed on the issue?

See this case for audio in classrooms - $3,000 Per Classroom School Camera System

Btw, I am a little confused. If you are in a one-party consent state, doesn't that mean, by definition, you don't need the other party to know / consent?

Only if the one party is an actual participant in the conversation. Otherwise its known as eavesdropping.

On the other hand as is often overlooked, these laws can only be applied after proving that the injured had a reasonable expectation of privacy AND that the information recorded was actually of a private nature. So in a classroom, as we spoke of in the linked discussion, I'm not sure that the expectation of privacy is a reasonable one

Example: call Walmart, ask their hours, record the whole thing without notification in a two-party state. Illegal? Not the way I understand it, because no private information was shared...

Although I'm sure that your client's reasoning for recording audio within the classroom environment is made of good intentions, I believe that doing this is certainly wading into dangerous waters. Every classroom would have to be conspicuously signed with notification that all occupants are being recorded. Are young children even considered compitient to give consent? How about parent-teacher interviews? Are they considered private? I would think that the teacher's union might have something to say about it as well.

I think that I would seek legal advise before installing equuipment with the intention of using it for recording audio.