How to Use Security Cameras for Schools

This blog shows how to use security cameras for schools to improve the safety of students, staff, and facilities. Learn about best practices for cameras in school and see how Spot AI can help your institution.


Matt Klingbeil



Table of Contents

Security cameras for schools are crucial for ensuring the safety of students and staff. They can discourage criminal activity, offer proof of incidents, and deter disruptive behavior in the school.

Schools can choose from various camera systems, including primary analog security cameras or more advanced digital surveillance systems with multiple cameras and intelligent analytics.

Some schools use fake security cameras outdoors instead of investing in real camera systems as an inexpensive way to discourage criminal behavior. Fake cameras look real but obviously cannot record, detect movement, or send alarms. While cost-saving, they are not a permanent solution for schools because they are largely ineffective and do not provide the protection necessary in modern schools.

With Spot’s intelligent camera systems, schools can select from a range of high-quality indoor and outdoor surveillance options that are easy to install and provide secure access and visibility into all areas of the school. Plus, Spot’s AI system can detect suspicious behavior and generate alerts in real-time to support quick incident resolution.

When selecting school cameras for classrooms in your school, it's important to consider the environment you're trying to monitor. Indoor cameras are typically used in the following areas:

  • Classrooms
  • Hallways
  • Hidden areas of a school
  • Parking lots
  • Playgrounds

Spot AI offers indoor and outdoor models that can be accessed remotely from any device with internet access, giving schools total control over their security systems. With intelligent features like facial recognition, motion sensors, and video analytics, Spot AI is an effective tool to deter potential crime. In addition, Spot AI can be easily integrated with other third-party software programs to ensure the system is up-to-date with all the latest security protocols.

Learn more about how schools improve security with our AI Camera System in our on-demand webinar.

Should Schools Have Surveillance Cameras in Classrooms

The use of surveillance cameras in classrooms is a topic that often sparks debate. While some believe they are essential for ensuring the safety and security of students, others are concerned about potential privacy violations or adverse effects on student learning. To understand school surveillance practices comprehensively, examining both perspectives and addressing any misunderstandings or uncertainties is essential.

Knowing how school cameras work and how often schools check cameras is vital. These cameras are usually easy to install and operate; they require minimal maintenance since the footage is stored off-site on secure servers accessible only by authorized personnel. Cameras typically have movement sensors that alert staff when activity is detected within their range of view. Additionally, most of these systems have features such as facial recognition technology that can identify people and alert staff if someone unauthorized is on the school campus.

Regarding security cameras in schools pros and cons, there are solid arguments for why they should or should not be used:


  • Improved security: Surveillance cameras can help deter criminal activity and violence, creating a safer learning environment for students and staff.
  • Monitoring student behavior: Video footage provides an additional layer of oversight, enabling school administrators to better ensure that classroom rules are being followed.
  • Facilitating investigations: If incidents occur on campus, surveillance cameras can provide valuable evidence.


  • Loss of privacy for students: Students may feel uncomfortable being monitored, leading to a lack of trust in the school environment.
  • Invasion of student autonomy: Cameras can be seen as intrusive, and may limit the opportunity for students to take risks and explore independently.
  • Potential security risk: If not properly secured, footage could be accessed by unauthorized persons or used maliciously.

School Security Cameras Cost

Many factors affect school security cameras cost. The system's installation is one of the highest expenses associated with these systems. This cost can vary depending on the complexity of the system and its size. The labor cost to install security cameras depends mainly on the number of cameras installed and any wiring or other equipment that needs to be set up as part of the system’s operation. In addition, hardware costs can all add up quickly when multiple units are required for a larger area or campus.

The most expensive hardware in security camera installation costs for businesses are:

  • Cameras 
  • Lenses (specialty lenses if desired)
  • Recording devices (these may be part of the cameras, but audio recording devices or motion detectors may be extra)
  • Installation fees (labor)
  • Mounting materials and equipment
  • Network infrastructure for remote viewing
  • Software licenses for video management systems

Monitoring Costs

As mentioned above, software and monitoring costs are another expense when considering school security camera systems. Regularly installing software updates is crucial for maintaining the security and efficiency of the system. However, it's essential to note that expenses such as subscription fees, licensing fees, and customized software development costs may be incurred.

Additionally, the cost of camera monitoring may vary depending on the chosen approach. If a school hires personnel to monitor the cameras, it will cost more than outsourcing the task to a monitoring agency. If the school is small, it may be necessary to outsource the monitoring services, since staff and resources may be limited.

Regular verification of all components of the surveillance system should also take place. This will help ensure that technical problems can be identified and quickly resolved before they become larger issues, but it requires more staff, which inherently incurs more expense.

Are School Cameras on at Night? 

Are school cameras on at night? Yes, they are. Most schools have security cameras that remain on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even though some security cameras don't work well in the darkness, many of them are outfitted with night vision, infrared, and/or low-light capabilities. Many schools also have motion-activated lighting systems installed in common areas such as parking lots and hallways.

School Surveillance Camera Policy

A detailed school surveillance camera policy is essential when protecting students and school staff. School cameras have become increasingly common in recent years to protect those within the school environment and stop potential threats. However, structure and regulations regarding how they're used are essential, and that's where a policy comes into play. The goal of this policy should be to create an atmosphere that enables safe learning while respecting the privacy rights of all individuals on campus.

Structure of a School Surveillance Camera Policy

The first element of any school surveillance camera policy should address whether school cameras include audio in the recorded footage. Audio can provide a clearer picture for criminal investigations, but it also has the potential to capture conversations between students, which could risk breaching their privacy rights. If audio is allowed, then extra measures should be taken to ensure that recordings are only used for the intended purpose.

The second element of any school surveillance camera policy should address where cameras may be placed, i.e., do schools have security cameras in classrooms. Schools should look at different areas, such as:

  • Classrooms
  • Hallways
  • Other locations that present the most significant benefit in terms of safety and security

Who Is Accessing the Footage?

Schools also need to consider who will have access to the footage captured by their surveillance cameras. In some cases, this might be limited to members of the administration or staff responsible for ensuring security on campus. In other cases, however, the footage might be shared with local law enforcement and outside agencies if necessary.

To protect student privacy while allowing quick responses to emergencies, it's crucial to create a school surveillance camera policy. Moreover, the policy should define the duration of time for which the recordings will be saved and also detail the measures taken to dispose of them after that period. The policy should also describe physical security actions, like installing cameras in secure enclosures or assigning a third party to monitor them.

Security Cameras In Schools Statistics

Installing security cameras in schools has become crucial because of insufficient security in many school settings. Do schools have security cameras in classrooms? Research shows that around 80% of public schools in the U.S. have installed security cameras in classrooms and common areas. These school security measures and their impact on students can significantly improve safety and promote the well-being of students.

Preventing Crime

Cameras help lower crime up to 50%. Nationwide, security in schools to prevent shootings is growing, as in this New York City program. However, there is still a lack of security in schools that is required to monitor campuses effectively.

Reducing False Alarms

According to school safety statistics, schools that installed surveillance systems are likely to experience a significant decrease in false alarm rates. This is important because false alarms consume resources that could be better allocated toward other safety measures.

Lower Vandalism and Theft

Criminals are deterred by school cameras and surveillance systems when they know their actions are being recorded, making them less likely to commit crimes on school grounds. According to a crime deterrence study, incidents of theft and vandalism decreased by almost 50% after installing cameras in schools. Installing security cameras in schools has clear benefits, such as reducing false alarms and identifying any potential vandals quickly and efficiently.

Click here to learn more about how to use security cameras for schools.

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