The hidden human rights curriculum of surveillance cameras in schools: due process, privacy and trust

Lotem Perry-Hazan, Michael Birnhack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores how school principals integrate Closed Circuit TV systems (CCTVs) in educational practices and analyses the pedagogical implications of these practices through the lens of human rights. Drawing on interviews with school principals and municipality officials, we found that schools use CCTVs for three main purposes: (1) Discipline: gathering evidence by semi-legal procedures, which replace educational processes and are inattentive to pupils’ voices; (2) Monitoring: real-time surveillance of pupils, which includes both caring and policing practices; and (3) Producing trust, by refraining from accessing the footage. This usage attempts to invert the concern that CCTVs undermine trust, but it may prove a double-edged sword if the pupils do not believe the principal. We argue that each of these approaches shapes the schools’ hidden human rights curriculum, by which pupils learn about due process, privacy, and autonomy, and about the power relations that determine the scope of these rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Israeli Science Foundation [grant number 448/15], Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary research, Tel Aviv University.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Tali Gal, Shiri Lavy, Avihu Shoshana, and participants at the Tel Aviv University Law Faculty seminar (May 2016) and at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference (Washington, June 2016) for helpful comments; and their research assistants, Uri Ansenberg, Dania Sacks and Tal Spitzer for able assistance. They thank the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research at the Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University and the Israeli Science Foundation for financial support, and the very busy interviewees, for devoting their time.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.


  • School surveillance
  • human rights education
  • privacy
  • school discipline
  • trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'The hidden human rights curriculum of surveillance cameras in schools: due process, privacy and trust'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this