Governor Mandates Cameras Installed in Special Education Rooms

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Ben Townsend

Special Education classrooms will soon have several cameras installed to monitor activities in the room.

Governor Greg Abbot signed a law that will require cameras in some Texas special education classrooms. The law, which will not take effect until the 2016-17 school year, requires cameras to cover all areas of the classroom except the bathrooms. It also states that parents have the right to view the footage whenever requested, and that the footage will be used exclusively to “promote student safety”.

These cameras could potentially prevent incidents of abuse or mistreatment, like the footage that was uncovered after a 5 month investigation into a Plano, Texas school shows. In the video, you see a special needs child being held inside a small padded room with a closed door, also known as a “calm room”, where students get sent in an attempt to relax and cool off as needed.

The child’s mom, Bethany Watson, recently spoke out in favor of the new law and the easy accessibility parents will have to the footage.

“If a teacher knows a parent might watch it,” Watson said. “They are going to change their behavior.”

The Dallas Morning News reports people’s concerns about where the funding for this new addition will come from. The legislative budget staff puts the cost at around $2.6 million, but not everyone agrees with that estimate.

Legacy AP Kay Tamakian also supports the idea of recording teachers and staff members in general.

“I have no problem with cameras in classrooms,” Tamakian said, “The only people who should be afraid are the people doing wrong things.”