Disclaimer: I have no opinion on the events shown on this video.
This post is a bit TL;DR but I encourage anyone who finds knee-jerk debunks annoying to stick with it, because the upshot of what follows demonstrates
of the claims made about the source of this video. In effect, it's a debunk of the debunking. (I wish I had been able to
prettify it with some pictures, but life's too short already...)
The chief objection that's been made is the apparently low-mounted position of the CCTV camera. While it's true that CCTV cameras are often mounted
quite high up, to capture a wide area in public spaces, it's also true that this is usually so that it is easier to pick out individuals in a crowd.
E.g., Londoners will be familiar with CCTV at far lower heights inside London busses, where the area under surveillance is more tightly-controlled and
The idea that wall-mounted CCTV might be installed in a school is not automatically excluded, and in fact makes a fair amount of sense when you
consider that Deerpark is a secondary school in the Irish education system, which means
it takes pupils as young as
These pupils are obviously going to be significantly shorter than the average member of the public. So mounting CCTV cameras a little lower
than usual could make immediate sense (otherwise, you might not get any facial details at all from a shorter individual).
None of this rules out the idea that other CCTV cameras might be mounted at different heights in the same building - we are only seeing a recording
from one particular camera.
The second thing to say about this is that the video has emerged via the school principal, whose name is attached to the story because he has spoken
to the media. Let's take the respectability of his position as read. He's not going to get mixed up in some juvenile prank very easily, he must spend
a large amount of his time dealing with pupil misbehaviour (I mean, that's his job, really, isn't it).
I'm not sure what motive he could have for releasing a video that could quite conceivably deter nervous or superstitious pupils from enrolling at his
Also, his role in the emergence of this story is significant. Deerpark's official name is "Deerpark CBS"
(School's official website here)
"CBS" stands for "Christian Brotherhood School" (not surprising in such a religious nation as Ireland). The Christian Brotherhood is officially the
Edmund Rice Schools Trust (ERST)
- the backstory to this name is fairly dull, so am not dealing with it here.
ERST doesn't appear to have published a mission statement on CCTV in its schools, and nor does Deerpark itself. This isn't suspicious, it just shows a
lack of co-ordination. But here's what ERST says about pupil privacy and wellbeing:
The school partners seek to promote personal dignity and safety so that all members of the school community may work and learn together, free
from harassment, bullying or disruption.
The reason those words are significant is that they have been used to support the introduction of CCTV in other schools run by the ERST.
is a full schedule of the CCTV policy of another ERST institution in Cork County, like Deerpark itself. (N.b., that link
is to a Google-cached page, since the original document appears to be offline right now).
And in that policy we find the following detail:
The data controller in respect of images recorded and stored by the CCTV system in the school is the Principal on behalf of The
Board of Management. The personal data recorded and stored by the CCTV system will only be available to the data controller and will be used
only for the purposes outlined on the signage
This fits with the situation at Deerpark - the principal is the person who checked the footage and released it to the media. And he was quite safe to
do so, because the recording didn't intrude into anyone's privacy, because it didn't depict anyone at all!
Finally, Deerpark has its own Twitter account and it has Tweeted the video
can rule out the idea that the entire thing is a joke at the school's expense. That tweet is from October 11, but the video is clearly datestamped
October 1, and it was released to the the Irish press shortly after that, and first published by them
on October 5.
So, it's a real video, released by the right person in a position to control the school's CCTV recordings (Kevin Barry, who is
listed as principal
on the school's own website), and it has been acknowledged by the school's social media
accounts. Not only that, but the supposed connection with Friday 13th turns out to be nothing of the sort and the only slightly theatrical aspect of
the date is that it occurs in the same month as Hallowe'en. Pearl Harbor was attacked in the same month as Christmas, but that doesn't mean the two
events were connected.
Verdict: Not only not debunked at present
(n.b.), but it actually looks a good deal more robust than many critics are supposing.
14-10-2017 by audubon because: minor clarifications