Texas may require cameras in all special education classrooms

May 9, 2013 by

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas’ special education classrooms may soon become safer for vulnerable children if lawmakers approve legislation requiring cameras in the rooms.

State Sen. Dan Patrick is sponsoring a bill to require schools to install and maintain cameras in all public special education classrooms in the Lone Star State. The measure passed the Senate and will surface in the House Public Education Committee next week, WFAA.com reports.

There is no organized opposition to Patrick’s proposal. Even teachers unions recognize the potential to prevent abuse outweighs privacy concerns.

Accusations of educators physically abusing handicapped students have been more common across the nation in recent years.

“This could possibly be a double-edged sword, but I think for the safety of the educators and the safety of the students, we would not oppose it,” Rena Honea, president of the Dallas Chapter of Alliance AFT told the television station.

The anticipated passage of the bill is a blessing for Breggett Rideau, whose son can’t walk or talk because of brain damage caused by a reaction to a vaccine when he was an infant. She told WFAA her son has come home from school with broken thumbs, dislocated knees, and was sexually assaulted by a former teacher.

“No child deserves it,” she told WFAA with tears in her eyes. “Abuse at school? At school man! It’s supposed to be the safe place.”

While there is no formal opposition to Patrick’s bill, the Legislative Budget Board did point to significant costs tied to the legislation. The LBB reported 73,375 special education students would need to be covered. At a rate of one camera for every five students, and an estimated cost of $150 per camera, the LBB believes the bill could cost Texas schools over $2 million, the television station reports.

The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education is neutral on the proposal, but TCASE officials are concerned lawmakers would push to have the cameras in classrooms by this fall, according to WFAA.

Texas may require cameras in all special education classrooms – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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