Surveillance video cameras can be a helping hand when it comes to the safety and wellness of students in classrooms throughout the United States, especially classrooms where special needs students are most vulnerable.
In the past, the debate over having security cameras on school grounds impeded on the privacy of students and teachers alike. Now, having security cameras in classrooms, especially in classes where special needs students are present, is finding favor in parents and greater communities. The debate still roils on, but do schools have things working in their favor to opt out of including cameras?
In West Virginia, the state moved forward with a bill that would allow security cameras to be posted inside classrooms where special education students are learning. The bill proposed and passed by the state’s senate would cost an estimated $7 million, or about $2,600 per classroom, to install security elements, such as cameras. The major discussion surrounding the bill had to do with reviewing the footage of what is captured via camera and how administrators handle issues.
In Texas, the state passed a similar law in 2015 making security cameras a must in classrooms where special needs students were in attendance. Parents advocated for the cameras following stories of abuse from staff and teachers toward students who were defenseless and vulnerable in more ways than one. From physical abuse to emotional harm, teachers and assistants are now being held more accountable—not to mention administrations and boards—for their actions as proof is made available through recording.
In Texas, if a request to view recorded footage from classroom cameras is denied parents can now send in appeals to review the it, making it harder for schools and school boards to keep information private.
With video evidence of incidents involving teachers and staff hurting special needs students, whether it’s physically, verbally or emotionally, school boards are finding themselves in the crosshairs of litigation. This has opened the door for legal battles that can’t easily be awarded to the side of school boards, especially as evidence is mounted against them. And as support for video surveillance installation continues to mount in communities, schools are being pushed toward liability insurance, such as Educators Liability, to protect their reputation and financial well-being.
Altogether, having video surveillance in classrooms is an added element of protection that is keeping educators and their schools responsible for the treatment of special education students in their classrooms. It’s a conversation that has opened the door to more protection for students and will continue to be built on to enhance everyone’s integrity.
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