Law governing cameras in special education classrooms could undergo changes

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The Louisiana bill to allow cameras in certain special education classrooms could undergo some changes.

2021 Senate Bill No. 86 / Act No. 456 states:

The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall adopt policies relative to the installation and operation of cameras that record both video and audio in a classroom upon the written request of a parent or legal guardian.

Shana Auzenne has a daughter who’s a student of special education. Auzenne advocates for children with special needs and is a firm supporter of the Autism Society Acadiana. She’s excited about cameras as an option for her daughter’s classroom.

“It provides so much assurance to me as mom with a limited verbal child,” Auzenne explained. “It will let me know that she’s treated fairly, if there was ever an incident or something that needs to be done. It’s just like the cameras they have on the school buses.”

The reviews have been positive but one advocate believes the bill could use more backbone. LaCAN (Louisiana Council’s Advocacy Network) Region 4 Leader Kristie Curtis says the network works through the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council. Curtis has been advocating for cameras for special education classrooms for the past nine years. Curtis believes the bill needs a time frame for how long a school has to install the cameras after a request has been made.

“There’s no time frame on this particular bill and there’s also no funding which is a big deal for districts,” Curtis stated.

Curtis expects the cameras will help with behavior observation, training, and creating behavior plans.

“It’s not quite what we were hoping for. We just have to keep pushing forward until we get there,” Curtis added.

The bill was put together by the collective efforts of nine senators. Sen. Gerald Boudreaux of Lafayette is one of them.

“When legislation is passed, there are very few bills that are perfect when they are in final product,” Boudreaux said. “I think the evaluation and the monitoring will lead to possible amendments to bring some comfort to the entire process; but in no way, shape, or form is it a done deal.”

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