Serious privacy concerns have been raised after hidden surveillance cameras were discovered inside a kindergarten classroom at a primary school in the Maitland area.
It's understood at least one camera was disguised as a clock and another disguised as a games console.
Teachers, students and parents were unaware of the presence of the cameras.
A worried parent contacted authorities and Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison after the cameras were found.
Ms Aitchison says the mother has been given four different reasons as to why they were concealed in the classroom.
The woman was told "the camera was there to catch a thief", because a "high school student was doing a project and forgot to take it away", it was part of a "video sharing platform", and it was used to catch "a person who might have been bullying one of the teachers".
"If there is workplace surveillance going on, there needs to have been assurances it was done in accordance with the workplace surveillance act. If that was the case, you wonder why four different stories were told about why the cameras were there and why they were hidden in that way," Ms Aitchison told KOFM's Tanya and Steve.
It's unclear what's happened with the footage from the cameras.
Ms Aitchison says she will be following up the issue with the Education Minister.
The Education Department has released this statement in response:
Student wellbeing is of the highest priority.
CCTV cameras can support the school as a safe environment, and the school has signage throughout advising that CCTV can be used outdoors and indoors in general use areas and classrooms.
A camera has been put in plain sight in a classroom as part of a response to a police matter.
The matter does not involve nor put any students at risk, but it is not appropriate for the school to comment on such matters.
NSW public schools generally use CCTV for
- monitoring premises for after-hours security;
- monitoring premises during the course of the working day for added security, and
- monitoring sick bays and student time-out rooms or other specific areas in schools.
The department must adhere to the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005.