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Cameras could come to special-education classrooms in Louisiana public schools

The state’s Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the legislation Monday
Red River Parish School District uses cameras in all classrooms, which comes with a big price...
Red River Parish School District uses cameras in all classrooms, which comes with a big price tag.(Christian Piekos)
Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (KSLA) — A Baton Rouge Republican is sponsoring legislation that would require cameras in certain special-education classrooms in Louisiana public schools.

“A lot of times, these students cannot advocate for themselves. And that’s why I want to add this layer of safety for these children,” said District 16 state Sen. Franklin J. Foil, R-Baton Rouge.

His Senate Bill 86 is one of three pieces of legislation the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss when it convenes at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 17.

The Baton Rouge Republican is sponsoring a bill that would require cameras in certain special education classrooms in the state’s public schools.

“Parents have always had a concern, but now we’re finding proof, especially on social media,” Cassie Hubble said.

She’s not only a parent to a student with special needs but also is a full-time advocate for families like hers.

“I went through navigating the school system and relying on that fact that what they told me they were going to do was their best intent. Later on, I found that really was not true; so I started seeking answers.”

Hubble helped start T.E.A.M.S. in Shreveport, a nonprofit that advocates for children with special learning needs in the school system.

Cameras are one of many issues she has advocated for over the years. “I was excited for the idea of getting cameras in classrooms, so I think we’re moving in the right step.”

Similar proposals have made their way through the Legislature in the past; however, none has been successful in the state. Texas already requires audio/video surveillance in certain special-education classrooms, upon request.

“With technology and awareness, it seems to have a lot more momentum this year,” Foil said, adding that he believes it is likely to pass this time around.

Hubble, however, said she does have some concerns about potential loopholes in the bill.

“In the bill, it states that parents have to request for cameras to be in the classroom. .... A lot of times, parents don’t know their rights. And then, you have to turn around and request to view the footage. .... The footage is only going to be available for at least 30 days.”

Hubble noted that some students cannot always communicate situations that might happen at school. Therefore, some parents often do not know of issues until well after the fact.

She also believes, however, that Foil’s bill has a better chance of passing this time around.

“The parents don’t want this information to catch the school doing something wrong. They just want the security of their child.”

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