School administrators in Iowa to monitor students with body cameras

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Cameras to record “student movement” as well as “parent and student interactions”

By Mikael Thalen |

School administrators in Iowa will soon be outfitted with body cameras in a new program aimed at monitoring interactions with students.

According to the Des Moines Register, the 13 cameras, worth roughly $1,100, will be provided to principals and other administrators throughout the Burlington Community School District.

Burlington District Superintendent Pat Coen, who used similar cameras while deployed in Afghanistan, argued that the technology would provide “personal accountability.”

“You always knew that if you messed up, the whole world got to see you mess up,” Coen, a retired Army National Guard colonel, told the Register. “It wasn’t so much about catching the other guy, but collecting how we did on the operation and how can we do it better.”

Aldo Leopold Middle School Principal Mark Yeoman, who was exonerated by a school surveillance camera last year after being accused of kicking a student, stated that the body cameras would allow administrators to monitor “student movement in hallways and in the lunchroom, as well as during conversations with students and parents.”


Although the district is still formulating its body camera policy, William Bracket, Burlington’s supervisor of technology, says camera operators will be required to upload collected footage at the end of each day.

The program, which allows administrators to turn the cameras on and off at their own discretion, has also taken heat from parents and experts alike.

Ken Trump, a school security consultant with the National School Safety and Security Service, said the cameras represent a “substantial overreach.”

“They’re not in the dark alleys of local streets on the midnight shift. They’re in school with children,” Trump said. “You have to ask, really, why are we doing this? And is it going to create more problems than it solves?”

Trump also questioned the legality of the program, “such as whether the footage is a matter of public record,” noted Fusion.

Once implemented, Burlington will become the first school district in the nation to monitor students with body cameras.

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