New Jersey Proposes Law Requiring Schools To Save Surveillance Footage

A newly proposed state law in New Jersey would require the Attorney General’s Office to develop a standard protocol for how long schools have to hold on to their surveillance footage. The bill, which is backed by every state lawmaker in New Jersey, is intended to prevent instances of missing evidence in sexual abuse cases.

As the law currently stands, there is no uniform standard for retaining footage. Some school districts only keep surveillance footage for a few weeks, making it difficult to recover potential evidence when accusations are made. Victims of abuse sometimes take years or even decades to come forward with allegations.

The bill would also set measures to limit access to school surveillance footage to prevent tampering. The Attorney General’s Office would have to review the policy annually and make adjustments.

The new measure to set state-wide requirements on the storage of surveillance footage in schools has unanimously passed in both legislative houses on January 31, 2019.

What this could mean for many schools in New Jersey is the need to update surveillance systems. Proponents of the law have suggested that cloud storage may be the appropriate answer. This could require extensive hardware upgrades or software integrations.

As security issues in schools become more complex and attitudes about surveillance begin to shift, schools in every state should start thinking about the sustainability of their security systems. Surveillance footage is needed in a variety of school-related court cases and modern technology allows us to store virtually infinite amounts of it. It’s up to the schools themselves to make smart, safe upgrades to their older systems.

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