Behind the Headline: Coming To Texas: Special-Ed Cams To Protect Students From Their Own Teachers

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Coming To Texas: Special-Ed Cams To Protect Students From Their Own Teachers
NPR | 12/15/15

Behind the Headline
Lights, Camera, Action
Education Next | Spring 2011

NPR reports on a new law in Texas that requires schools to videotape special ed classrooms if a parent or school staff member requests it.

As Ryan Schuette explains

The measure stems from an investigation last year, with NBC-5 in Dallas finding that some teachers had confined their students in so-called “calm rooms,” closet-like spaces with doors and padding.

Some of these rooms had cameras. In one cringe-worthy video recording, a teacher forced an 8-year-old boy with autism inside a room, forced him to the floor and held the door shut despite his protests.

Just a handful of North Texas schools reportedly engaged in these practices, but the controversy spurred investigations and brought parents to the state capital to testify.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Texas, who sponsored the original bill, said he wanted to “give a voice to someone who could not speak up when they were abused at school.”

Another benefit? Lucio says camera footage can protect everyone, including educators. “False accusations will not fall on good teachers,” he added.

In a 2011 article for Education Next, Mike Petrilli proposed that video cameras be put in all classrooms, and that the recordings be used as part of teachers’ evaluations.

—Education Next

H/T: Joanne Jacobs

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