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School district OKs camera policy

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Killeen special-needs families are one step closer to getting camera monitors in their children’s classrooms.

The Killeen Independent School District board of trustees, 5 to 1, approved a policy to implement the cameras but didn’t specify when the monitors would be installed in the five classrooms where they have been requested.

“We could start as soon as tomorrow,” said Superintendent John Craft.

The only board member opposed to adopting the policy was Marvin Rainwater.

Board members Corbett Lawler, Terry Delano, Shelley Wells, Susan Jones and JoAnn Purser all voted in favor of the policy and procedures. Board member Minerva Trujillo was absent.

Parent Angela Garvin, who has advocated for the bill, was pleased with the board’s decision.

“This is a small step in the right direction. There’s still a long, hard road ahead, but passing of the board’s policy and procedures was absolutely necessary,” Garvin said.

Garvin and other special-needs parents have been frustrated with KISD’s perceived lack of urgency.

S.B. 507 BACKGROUND

Texas Senate Bill 507 became effective in August. Since then, six Killeen ISD families filed requests (two of the students are in the same classroom) to have monitors placed in their special education student’s classroom to protect the students from possible abuse or harassment.

The bill currently applies only to students who attend special education class for more than 50 percent of their academic day and have more than 50 percent of their curriculum taught in the same classroom by the same teacher.

Some of the issues board members raised earlier included how the installations would be funded if the parents’ requests increased, potential concern of other parents who didn’t want their child monitored involuntarily in the same classroom, whether teachers would object to having their daily actions recorded and potentially critiqued by authority, and whether student privacy lines would be crossed.

At the previous board meeting, two of the board members had asked why cameras could not be installed in the five classrooms under discussion.

“I would favor installing the monitoring systems in the five classrooms requested, if our attorney advised Killeen ISD it is legal to proceed with doing so as we await the final guidelines from the state,” Wells said at the Oct. 11 meeting.

Purser had added these same sentiments, citing that showing good faith is one of the most important things board members need to do for parents who have special education children.

“Hopefully, this shows as a good sign that the district will do what’s expected of them and quickly install the cameras, because some of these teachers in the district are not following protocol. So we’ll see,” Garvin said Tuesday.

254-501-7568 | quinton@kdhnews.com

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