Special Ed Classrooms Get Cameras

Who knows when they are watching...
Who knows when they are watching…

ds160906_cameras-668x418I agree that every child deserves to be safe but at whose expense, Teachers.  I did notice that the article did say that the video cannot be used inappropriately, but can be saved for 6 months so who is protecting the person or video from being put in the wrong hands?  I guess what I am saying is that they are taking all these measurements to make sure the students are safe but what about us as the teachers?

I am going to do something interesting here.  I am going to take both sides of this one.  This article is very near and dear to me for two reasons.  I am a Special Education Teacher and have been for close to 20 years.  I have worked with children with autism of varying ages from 5-13 and the Emotionally handicapped and now with the learning disabled children from 3rd to 5th grade.    At the same time I am a parent of a child who has special needs.  I will be giving the teacher side and the parent side.

One of the aspects that’s a major consideration for all involved in this decision is the location of the cameras. It is considered fine by most to allow surveillance in the hallways and entrance ways.   Hallways and entrance ways are one thing.  I know you want to prevent violence in the hallways between children and protect the school from outside perpetrators.    But, if you allow cameras in the classroom that would be an invasion of the teacher’s privacy.  You can use the cameras against the teachers in so many ways.  The administration can observe the lessons, see what your planning is like, see how your behavior management is, without them knowing, which would be an invasion of privacy.  Then they could approach the teacher on the things that they saw.  Then that brings up a whole confidentiality issue.  I understand that if there was expected abuse in the class or behaviors between children then a teacher should know about what is going on.  But are we to trust administration?  With the knowledge of having the cameras in the room and the fact they can have the power to flick the switch at any time?  That is power I would not want to give my administration.  The power is already in their hands as it is.    I do understand that it can definitely protect us in a way but the principals and administration should not be the ones holding onto it.  A school safety team should have the control over the camera and be able to report to the principal or administration at the time of the incident.

I am all about keeping the teachers safe and the students but I am not for giving the principals that extra control as I stated before.

cctv-security-surveillance-cameraI know the cameras are helpful to protect everyone especially in today’s day and age.  The cameras protect both students and teachers from incidents that might happen.  Depending on the population of your children somethings might happen that might not seem the way it should be.  If you have students in your class that need lots of prompting and Hand over hand prompts, you do not want anything to be misconstrued as something it is not.  This is when as a parent I would want the cameras in the room. When I worked with children with Autism those cameras protected me, because I had to restrain a child to protect himself and everyone in the class.  The principal went back to the video to see what caused the order of restraint.  From a parents point of view this is a great thing the at my son’s old school they did have cameras in all the classroom but they had a brilliant idea that if a parent wanted to view their children and not have their child know they were there because they would be distracted.  That is a great idea and the admin made statements saying we do not spy on the staff and it is in a separate room that parents only use.

When it comes to cameras in the classroom, it goes back to that beginning statement.  Who knows when they are watching.

One thought on “Special Ed Classrooms Get Cameras”

  1. Great article Marc. This is such a controversial issue, you are bringing up. You articulate both sides well. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the coming years. Thanks for sharing

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