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Classroom camera bill put on hold, but nobody is claiming responsibility

Jun 11, 2013 by

AUSTIN, Texas – Nobody in the state of Texas is taking credit for killing a bill that would have required security cameras in special needs classrooms, though members of the education establishment seem pleased with the legislation’s mysterious demise.

According to Patricia Kilday Hart of the Houston Chronicle, the bipartisan measure – Senate Bill 1380 – was designed to protect children with limited verbal ability from physical abuse in the classroom.

During testimony in support of the bill, parents shared horror stories of how autistic or Downs syndrome children were “coming home from school bruised and scared,” according to the Chronicle.

One parent told of a child who was restrained by being placed in a file cabinet, presumably by the teacher.

Parents argued that security cameras in select classrooms would stop instances of abuse – or, at least, make the prosecution of abusive teachers possible.

Nobody publicly testified against the bill.

SB 1380 appeared well on its way to becoming law until an anonymous lawmaker placed a “hold” on the legislation, which prevented the bill from coming to a proper vote in the Texas House of Representatives, according to the news report.

State Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat who co-sponsored the legislation, said she “can’t say for sure who killed” the measure.

“That’s the way it works at the Capitol,” Howard told the Chronicle. “A lot of magical, mysterious things happened here.”

Now that the bill has been killed off for the current session, some members of the education establishment are explaining why they didn’t like the potential law, even as they deny engaging in any activity to defeat it.

Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, told the paper that cameras in the classroom would create “an uncomfortable work environment.”

Officials with the Texas Association of School Boards said they were concerned the initiative amounted to an “unfunded mandate” on cash-strapped schools and opened the door to violating the privacy rights of other students in the classroom.

Rep. Howard isn’t buying those lame excuses for opposing the bill.

“What dollar amount can you put on making sure these children are safe?” Howard asked, according to the Chronicle. “These are students who can’t speak up for themselves.”

Howard and Republican co-sponsor State Sen. Dan Patrick are expected to re-introduce the measure next session.

via Classroom camera bill put on hold, but nobody is claiming responsibility – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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