To record or not to record. That's the question facing many schools, including the Dallas Independent School District. DISD trustee Dustin Marshall has proposed installing cameras to record the activity of all the district's special ed classrooms. His proposal faces opposition from his fellow trustees and the school superintendent.
Why Dallas Is Considering This Question
Currently, Texas law requires recording in a particular special education classroom when a school employee, parent, or school trustee requests it. Marshall's proposal would automatically put a camera in every special ed classroom in DISD. Marshall is advancing this cause as a result of the feedback he received from a special education advisory board.
What Marshall Hopes Recording Would Achieve
Many special education students lack the communication skills to let someone know they are being mistreated in the classroom. Marshall says cameras offer protection to these vulnerable students. He also believes recordings would protect school personnel from false claims of abuse.
What Opponents Have Said
In a trustee meeting, other DISD trustees went on record with their concerns about the cost of outfitting 480 classrooms with cameras. Some trustees also fear cameras in the classroom would cause teachers to leave DISD. Also, DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa opposes the measure. He doesn't think it's appropriate to spend millions of dollars on something that doesn't contribute to academic success.
Classroom Recording Is a Widespread Issue
Like Texas, West Virginia law mandates recording in a specific special education classroom at the request of a parent, teacher, or school administrator. In Georgia, the law allows schools to put cameras in special ed classrooms on a voluntary basis.
Dallas isn't the only place wrestling with the issue of recording in special ed classrooms. For example, a North Carolina parent whose non-verbal daughter received injuries at school created an online petition to call for recording in the state's special ed classrooms. Also, Nevada state legislators proposed a bill to require cameras in special ed classrooms in 2017 and again in 2019.
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