Can Parents Access School Surveillance Footage?


If something goes wrong at your child's school or if you suspect activity at school that could be harmful to your child, can you, as a parent, request to view the school's surveillance video? Channel 13 WMAZ news investigated this very question. Read on to find out what they discovered about your rights as a parent regarding school surveillance videos.


After Baldwin County parents asked to see school video of a senior prank, we wanted to know: Can parents request surveillance video from their child's school?

To find the answer, [13 WMAZ] spoke to Atlanta attorney Thomas Clyde, who serves as a board member for the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. We also looked at relevant documents from the U.S. Department of Education.

Clyde says laws addressing this issue are the Georgia Open Records Act and the federal law known as FERPA - the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

"Both of those laws give a parent the absolute right to see the records of their children, including security tape that depicts their own child," said Clyde. "So one thing that's very clear is a parent has the right to see video that was taken by the school system of their child."

The U.S. Department of Education also spells out what parents have access to in the FERPA guideline which is easily accessible online.

Although we should note, FERPA applies only to schools that receive federal funding. Private schools are exempt.

To request video from your child's school, you'll want to make an open records request.

  • Be as specific as you can about the date, time and location of the video you are requesting. That will cut down on retrieval time and cost.

The school system can charge parents for the time and materials needed to retrieve the video and blur the faces of any other children in it.

We verified and concluded that YES, parents can request video of their children on school surveillance cameras.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV

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