Killeen Independent School District is behind schedule on placing requested cameras in special education classrooms, and some parents have become impatient.
Special education parents had been advocating for the use of cameras in special education classrooms to monitor teacher and student interactions. This followed reports from parents that date back to last school year that some students were being spoken to with derogatory language and one student came home with bruising on the arms.
Senate Bill 507, enacted in September 2015 and effective in August, requires Texas public school districts to install video cameras in special education classrooms if a parent requests a camera and fills out a proper request form.
KISD administrators say they need clarification of the law.
“The District has been waiting for clarification and direction from TEA. Clarification has been sought, so that we could develop our policy and procedures, get it approved by the Board of Trustees and implement it into practice,” according to a KISD statement.
KISD has also expressed that, while there is no official deadline, they understand they are up against a clock to comply with the law as soon as reasonably possible.
“While no definitive deadline has been issued by the State, the cameras must be installed and activated in a timely manner once all requirements are met,” according to a statement from the district.
KISD, in response to Herald questions, wrote there are three main steps left that need to happen before the cameras will be turned on and used for recording. Those steps include: approval of the policies and procedures by the board of trustees, confirmation that the classrooms requested meet the law’s requirements (each of the five classrooms requested currently do meet this criteria), and confirmation that the request forms have been turned in with all proper information.
The district said each of the five classrooms under request meet the standard. And each request form received so far has been filled out properly with all necessary information.
Many parents are displeased with the school district for the delays.
“I am a mom of a Special Education student in a self contained classroom who made a request on August 22, 2016 to have cameras installed. John Craft (KISD Superintendent) stated in the past that the District would be proactive about the cameras. However, what I saw tonight was not proactive,” said Killeen resident Angela Garvin in a letter to the Herald sent last week.
The TEA released an official statement to Herald questions about when KISD will need to full adhere to Senate Bill 507.
“In order to promote student safety on request by a parent, trustee, or staff member, a school district open enrollment charter schools shall provide equipment, including a video camera, to each school in the district or each charter school campus in which a student who receives special education setting is enrolled. Each school or campus that receives equipment shall place, operate, and maintain one or more video cameras in each classroom or setting in which a majority of the students are in regular attendance.”
KISD’s next Board of Trustees meeting is set for Oct. 11 when the board will review this discussion again.
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