State legislature passes law requiring cameras in special ed classrooms


Kyle Gehman

One of the many cameras installed over the summer at LHS. Cameras around the nation are increasingly becoming more and more common in the use of surveilling students.

by Kyle Gehman, Staff Writer

Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that requires cameras to be placed in all special education classrooms in Texas on June 17, 2015 .

The bill was created due to multiple reports of children being hurt in special ed classes. One severe case that pushed lawmakers over the edge was an incident when an autistic child was locked in a closet at a school in Plano, Texas. Parents and teachers hope that these cameras will make it easier to find out what is happening to their kids if they are injured and stop teachers from making these decisions knowing that they are being filmed.

“In typical high school rooms students can speak up for themselves,” LHS special education teacher Duvette Huner said. “But sometimes in special ed, you have lots of kids who can’t communicate.”

An issue that teachers have found about this law is that the state does not have to pay for the use and installment of these cameras, the districts do. They are concerned it will take away money from new supplies and better pieces of equipment from students. Districts have up to around 300 special ed classes in their district. Cost depending on the size of the district, can be from $10,000 to $45,000.

“I think that if this new law helps just one kid from being abused, it is definitely worth it,” Huner said. “But if this law takes away from our teachers who work so much extra already from getting a raise or increasing the amount of teachers, it might not be worth it as much.”

The law regarding cameras in special education classrooms will take effect in the 2016-2017 school year.

“If this will save one child from being hurt, harmed, molested or anything else,” Huner said. “Than this will be a good change.”