They're just cheap clip-ons that write to SSDs and have no tamper-evident measures.
The lack of tamper-evidence suggest that these are mostly about busting students, not about keeping administrators honest. And obviously, nothing improve a student's comfort level in a difficult situation like staring into the unblinking glass eye of a recorder wielded by an authority figure.
Iowa's Burlington Community School District is not using anything so high-tech—their cameras are $85 video-audio recorders that store footage on SD cards, according to The Des Moines Register. In a phone call with Ars, Jeremy Tabor, the Director of Human Resources for Burlington School District, said people assuming that the school will use these cameras in the same manner as police are wrong. “We don't want to create a system where we're monitoring every activity... we just want to make sure that if something happens,” the school has the most information possible.
Tabor added that there are “no plans in place right now” for teachers to wear body cameras. “There would be no need for that and certainly the cost would be prohibitive,” he said. Instead, the body cams are restricted to use by principals and assistant principals who will be responsible for uploading the footage at the end of each day, if the cameras are used that day.
Tabor would not comment in detail as to how the footage would be stored or used, but he said that Burlington schools already have stationary cameras mounted on school buildings and monitoring cafeterias, hallways, and school buses. “We have a process in place now for how we store this video footage already,” Tabor said, noting that the principal body cam footage would be stored similarly.
Iowa school district asks principals to wear body cams [Megan Geuss/Ars Technica]