School Comes Under Fire for Installing CCTV Cameras in Girls’ Toilet

A school in the Russian town of Bolshoy Kamen has attracted a lot of criticism both from students and their parents after installing a camera surveillance system inside the girls’ toilet.

Many people view toilets as one of the few remaining places to enjoy privacy outside their homes, and even in the busiest of places. But if you are a girl studying at School no. 1 in Bolshoy Kamen, Russia, you can no longer enjoy privacy inside the toilet because of a three-camera surveillance system that feeds live footage straight to the security guard’s booth. Granted, the cameras don’t offer a view inside the toilet booths, but simply knowing that someone might be watching your every move in what is supposed to be the most private space in the school is disturbing, according to many students and their parents.

As you can imagine, the school’s decision to implement a CCTV system inside the girls’ bathroom has attracted quite a lot of criticism, especially since the boy’s bathroom is not monitored in the same way. While school representatives didn’t explain why only the girls’ toilet was being monitored, they claimed that the cameras were necessary to ensure that students didn’t fight, smoke, or engage in other activities not permitted in school. They also insisted that the booths were no monitored, so this is technically not an invasion of privacy.

Many of the girls’ parents expressed their outrage at the school’s decision on social media, claiming that if the kids wanted to break the rules, they could do it inside the toilet booths or even cover the cameras. Although no formal complaints have been filed, the extensive media coverage forced the school to temporarily shut down the CCTV system. The school board will soon decide whether to keep using it or dismantle it completely.

The toilet CCTV system was generally criticized, but Russian newspaper MK reports that many of the locals were actually in favor of the cameras, because they stopped kids from vandalizing the newly-renovated school, and also made them think twice about bullying fellow students, smoking, or using drugs.

Yes, our parents are for it,” said Tatyana, a student from the seaside town of Spassk-Dalniy. “The toilets at our school were recently renovated; a month later, at a parent meeting, the school principal complained that the toilet paper holders and liquid soap holders had been broken. There is always mayhem in the toilets! It is simply impossible for a normal child to go to the toilet during recess. Either there is a column of smoke or a showdown. Previously, the director could come in and disperse the children, but now everyone is afraid! What if their parents and children later accuse them of something…


This is not the first time a Russian school has made national news headlines for installing cameras in the students’ toilets. The no. 49 school in Ufa attracted criticism last year for the very same reason.

Last year, we also wrote about a Chinese company that sparked controversy by installing cameras inside its toilets to monitor employees.

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