Madison School district violates own policy with hidden surveillance cameras

Dylan Brogan:

In September 2019, top brass at the Madison school district violated district policy by installing hidden cameras — concealed in hollowed-out smoke detectors — in a coach’s office in the boys’ locker room and a room where special needs students undress and have their diapers changed. The concealed surveillance operation at East High School was done without informing school staff in the hopes of catching a custodian, who worked nights, sleeping on the job. 

Isthmus has also learned, through multiple anonymous sources, that “large amounts of money” were planted in the room with the hidden cameras as part of the investigation. District spokesperson Tim LeMonds wouldn’t say if the custodian under investigation was ever disciplined, writing in an email to Isthmus, “we can not comment on personnel issues.” 

“I have not seen any mention of ‘large amounts of money’ being left around as a part of the investigation in any of the information I have seen,” LeMonds wrote in a follow-up email to Isthmus. “That said, the internal investigation is still underway and if anything surfaces related to money being left, it will be included in the final report.” 

According to a Feb. 23 email sent to parents by Superintendent Carlton Jenkins, these areas were selected because they “contained furniture conducive to sleeping.” Jenkins added the cameras are a “direct violation of district policy.” Even so, the district’s building services staff and Director of Labor Relations Heidi Tepp, an attorney, approved and executed a covert plan to install the cameras without the knowledge of East staff or then-superintendent Jane Belmore. 

Emily Hamer:

The hidden cameras found at Madison East High School were in a room where students with disabilities changed and in a coaches’ office in the boy’s locker room, a police report shows. 

Madison School District Superintendent Carlton Jenkins told parents in an email Tuesday night that the cameras, which were hidden inside smoke detectors, were installed in violation of district policy in an attempt to catch a custodian suspected of sleeping on the job.