Principals have credited the use of security cameras in schools for helping reduce vandalism and bad behaviour.
Across the Tasman, debate is heating up over a call from the Australian Principals' Federation for the government to pay for all state schools to have cameras, because of an increase in parents abusing teachers.
In New Zealand, cameras in schools were common and had successfully tackled vandalism and theft issues, Secondary Principals' Association president Tom Parsons said.
School communities were aware the cameras were operating and in some cases local police helped with the monitoring, he said.
Security cameras were installed in Kuranui College, in Greytown, this term to cut down on the number of teachers needed to monitor school entrances.
Principal Geoff Shepherd said one teacher could watch the monitoring screens from the staffroom and keep an eye on everyone entering or leaving school property.
"If there's an issue in the playground that we want to review then they're useful as well."
He said the mysterious theft of computers from the school this year had bumped cameras up the priority list.
"We've spent about $7000 to date but in order to do the whole school we're looking at about $40,000, so it's certainly not cheap."
Porirua College had CCTV cameras installed by the Ministry of Education when the school began its rebuild in 2010.
Principal Susanne Jungersen said the cameras were monitored in the school office.
"We do get some after-hours problems with people on the property and vandalism and we've been able to forward footage to the police and the culprits were apprehended."
Word spread quickly when offenders were caught on camera. "That is a good deterrent in itself," she said. "I don't think it's intrusive because people are used to that sort of passive surveillance."
Ms Jungersen said the school had never used camera footage after an incident involving a parent confronting a teacher. "If that was to occur though the cameras would be helpful in that situation."
Ministry general manager of property Kim Shannon said schools affected by vandalism and crime were supported with additional funding.
"A vandalism grant is provided to all schools with the exception of integrated schools. The grant is provided to assist boards to take positive steps to reduce vandalism."
If a school had continuing problems the ministry would send in a security specialist to make suggestions, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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