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Making Sense of Video Retention Requirements in Education

Are you aware of how video retention policies impact education? There’s a growing need to learn about the topic in this industry. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, most schools use surveillance. In fact, more than 80 percent of public schools and more than 94 percent of high schools in the U.S. use cameras to monitor students. This means that many districts have to stay up to date on surveillance and retention laws

Why is video surveillance and retention important in education?

There are several benefits to having video surveillance in schools. Data shows that some of these benefits include the ability to identify criminals and view evidence after an incident, having real-time insights during an emergency and improved student behavior.

Video retention for higher education

Video surveillance is also used in higher education, primarily for safety reasons. Each institution will typically have its own video surveillance and retention policy. These policies must be in line with state laws and will vary based on location.

We can look to the Tufts University website for an example of a video retention policy in higher education:

“All video security records shall be stored in a secure university location for a period not exceeding 30 days and will then promptly be erased or written over unless retained as part of a criminal investigation or court proceedings (criminal or civil), or other approved use as designated by the Director of Public and Environmental Safety or designee. In higher security areas, retention time may be increased, as deemed appropriate by the Director of Public and Environmental Safety or designee.”

Video cameras and special education

Some states have passed legislation to require the use of video cameras in special education classrooms upon parent or staff requests. These cameras are placed in self-contained classrooms and primarily serve to improve student and staff safety. Schools must follow existing video retention guidelines to be in compliance with the law.

Education video retention laws

These laws vary from state to state. In Texas, for example, districts must retain video for three months. However, if a school receives a lawful request to view footage, the district must retain it until that footage is viewed. Similar guidelines exist across the country.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Some schools will also need to consider the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and how it impacts video retention requirements. The FERPA requires schools that receive federal funding to preserve the confidentiality of student education records. It also provides parents and eligible students the right to access education records.

Under this act, images of students captured on surveillance recordings qualify as education records when photo or video is “directly related to a student and maintained by the educational institution (or an entity acting for the school).”

Making sense of video retention requirements in education

Do you need a better way to manage video surveillance and retention in your school? Using the right technology can make law enforcement video retention simple. For example, a camera reporting solution for XProtect VMS can give you all the information you need in a couple of clicks.

If you want to learn more about video retention and compliance in other industries, check out our blog for more posts