A security camera installed in the bathroom of Jubilee Christian College, Atherton.
A security camera installed in the bathroom of Jubilee Christian College, Atherton.

Qld school videoing children in toilets

A TABLELANDS student has raised concerns about surveillance cameras installed in her school's toilets as a tool to "assist student safety."

The student of Jubilee Christian College took a photo of one of the cameras, installed above the door of a girls' toilet.

"She has brought it up with the school," the girl's guardian said.

"We didn't receive a letter or anything.

"If it was in a public toilet you could just imagine what many parents would be ­saying."

It is understood the girl started at Jubilee this year.

The Queensland Council of Civil Liberties has serious ­concerns about the cameras, which the school said were ­installed in 2015.

"The increase in the pervasive use of surveillance technology in Queensland warrants careful public scrutiny, particularly if CCTV is being used in school toilets," QCCL vice president Angus Murray said.

A security camera installed in the bathroom of Jubilee Christian College, Atherton.
A security camera installed in the bathroom of Jubilee Christian College, Atherton.

As a private independent school, Jubilee does not come under the auspices of the Department of Education, but is a member of independent Schools Queensland and Christian Colleges Australia.

An ISQ spokeswoman said it could not regulate the ­actions of its schools, as it "is a membership organisation, not a complaints organisation."

A CCA spokesman said ­Jubilee Christian College was administered by a board of ­directors and remained "autonomous."

"Many Christian schools, and indeed schools more ­generally, have installed CCTV monitoring for the safety of students and security of property," executive officer Mark Spencer said.

The Jubilee board of directors has defended the installation of the cameras, which it said are accessible only by the principal, vice principal and business manager.

"Our cameras in the amenities block are positioned to view the hand basins and walkways only, and do not provide any view of the activities in the cubicles," the board's Floyd Risser said.

He said the cameras could not record sound or conversations and no complaints had been received.

Mr Risser said the cameras installed in covered walkways, offices and learning areas were "strategically angled" in bathrooms, and were "invaluable" in dealing with incidents.

Laws examined

Privacy issues have not escaped the attention of the Queensland Attorney-General.

In July the AG announced that the Queensland Law Reform Commission would examine laws on civil surveillance.

"The first of two inquiries will consider whether Queensland should consider legislation to protect the privacy of individuals in the context of current and emerging surveillance device technologies," a Justice Department official said.