School scraps "Big Brother plans" to watch pupils

The KTA Gitbo in Keerbergen (Flemish Brabant) has decided to scrap plans to install cameras to watch the pupils. The school is being confronted with cases of theft and petty crimes, a problem which could be stopped by cameras, but these would also be used to watch the children to prevent bullying and nagging.

It could have been an episode in George Orwell's 1984: a school that installs cameras to monitor the pupils. The KTA Gitbo in Keerbergen, a school providing technical and vocational training, had plans to install 8 cameras to keep an eye on the teenagers.

The school announced yesterday that the CCTV circuit would help to stop problems of theft and delinquency, but they would also serve to watch the pupils on the playground and at the cycle shed.

However, the school board decided to scrap the plans after meeting representatives of the Flemish Education Department. Raymonda Verdyck: "We didn't forbid the school to install cameras, but on the other hand we don't want to create an atmosphere where the pupils have the constant feeling of being watched."