The famous Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment reads like this:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Judges have consistently held that this clause applies equally to children as to adults. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), judges ruled that the First Amendment protects children's free speech in public schools. However, in subsequent rulings like Bethel School District v. Fraser (1986) and Morse v. Frederick (2007), limits have been placed on free speech for reasons of indecency and obstruction of the educational process. It's a little bit arbitrary.
When it comes to privacy, in 1985 the Supreme Court ruled in New Jersey v. T.L.O. that children in public schools can be searched without warrant when a school official has reasonable suspicion a student has broken a law or a school rule.
If the Boston School Department went forward with this strategy, it's unclear whether it would be constitutional. Obviously they don't need a warrant for this kind of surveillance; however, they don't have probable cause to listen in on every single student.
What do you think? Is it really OK to record every student - even with only a camera? Let me know with a comment.