Digital Technology: Safe and responsible use in schools
The following guide is a companion to the Guidelines for the surrender and retention of property and searches.
5. Recording an incident in the classroom
A teacher had an unruly class on Monday where there was a strong exchange between him and some students, this included a student swearing and storming out of class. The teacher discovered that a student recorded this incident on his smartphone and intends to upload the video to the web as a joke. The teacher wants the phone confiscated and the content deleted as he considers it would be humiliating and an invasion of privacy for all concerned.
Has there been an infringement of the Privacy Act 2020?
Individual students are subject to the Privacy Act 2020 (the Act) as it applies to “any person or body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporated”.
What other options are open to the school?
The threatened action of publishing the video online, or otherwise sharing the recording, has the potential to:
- detrimentally affect the learning environment i.e. disrupting the school environment through gossip, innuendo and intrigue
- endanger teacher safety i.e. be harmful by posing an immediate threat to the emotional safety of a person.
This gives the school the basis to act in this case. The advice on deletion provided in this guide applies in this case.