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surveillance row Belfast grammar school removes CCTV from boys toilets after backlash from parents

The school installed the CCTV over the summer months but it had not been put into operation at the time it was removed

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Belfast Royal Academy

Belfast Royal Academy

Belfast Royal Academy

A Belfast school has removed CCTV cameras from the boys toilets after a backlash from parents.

Belfast Royal Academy, one of Northern Ireland’s most prestigious schools, and the oldest school in Belfast, told parents this week that the cameras had been installed over the summer months but have since been removed.

The school has previously claimed the cameras were not activated and would not have been put into use without consultation.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, UUP MLA Robbie Butler, a member of Stormont’s Education Committee, said the decision to remove the CCTV was the “right call” even though he says it was a “late call”.

He also described the decision of the school to install cameras in the first place as a “strange decision in the first place”.

He added: “I suppose updating their CCTV policy is a good thing but how it came about in the first place is a thing for all Boards of Governors in schools to think about in terms of how to protect young people.

“Maybe there are issues in and around schools such as bullying, there’s obviously the safety and welfare of pupils however there’s also a balance of human rights and privacy always to be maintained. So I do welcome it, it’s good to see BRA are [updating] their policy but it’s something for everyone to think about and learn from.”

The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma, said: “I hope that no school will ever consider using surveillance in this way without proper consideration of the child protection and privacy implications and without proper consultation with young people and their parents.”

SundayWorld.com has contacted the school for a response.

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