Picture this: Your child asks to go to the restroom at her school. She walks in, expecting privacy, and is shocked when she looks up and sees a camera.
"It was pointing so you could see from the sink to outside of the stall doors," explains Principal Valerie Shelters.
Shelters says they've been having problems at Northwest Elementary in Blackman Township with girls writing obscenities and leaving trash all over the bathroom. So Monday, a couple of staffmembers got so fed up they decided-- completely on their own-- to put a dummy surveillance camera up in the bathroom. The principal says she knew nothing of the decision.
"They (the staff responsible) would make it look like the kids were being filmed so they'd be more cautious of what they were doing," Shelters says.
News 10 was able to see the camera in question. We're told it doesn't actually film anything, and it's supposed to be connected to a microscope. It was obtained, we're told, from a science classroom. It was put in a high corner to let girls know they were being watched-- but what it did was give them a scare.
"They may say it doesn't work, but we don't know that and neither do the children," says Kathy Huber, parent of a fifth-grade girl at Northwest.
Parents Thursday are upset their children's privacy may have been at stake.
"I don't think it's right," says parent Amber Beaman. "I think they should have more supervision, teachers monitoring the bathrooms if it's a problem."
Shelters says as soon as she found out Tuesday of the camera, it camera was taken down, students were explained the situation and the staff members responsible were verbally reprimanded.
"I don't think it was done with maliciousness. It was unfortunately not a well thought-up plan," she says.
And one that's not catching anything but heat.
The principal does say cameras will be going up in other parts of the school-- not the bathroom-- thanks to a technology bond that was passed for the district.
A local prosecutor tells wilx.com he does not believe there are any legal issues associated with putting a non-working camera up in a bathroom.