HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – After calls for more security from parents across the state, cameras in special education classrooms could be on the way soon.
Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) filed a bill to put video cameras in all public school special education classrooms.
Putting cameras in special education classrooms has been a top priority for advocates like Kimberly McFadden who wants to make sure nonverbal students are protected.
“He doesn’t know to come home and say, ‘Hey mom dad something happened to me today.’ Like, we just have to figure it out by behavior. So for us, it would be a huge sigh of relief that there’s some kind of voice out there for him. The cameras would act as his voice,” said McFadden.
Last year, Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said the district would add cameras after parents came forward with concerns.
One mother said the need for a camera doesn’t target teachers.
“A camera is a camera. What a camera captures is the issue. And so to me, if nothing is going on there is nothing to capture. If the environments are safe, I don’t really see what the opposition is,” explained Sarita Edwards.
Another mother told News 19 she’s witnessed abuse working as a special education substitute in North Alabama.
“I witnessed firsthand abuse of children being locked in the closet with no access to air temperature or ventilation and it was a regular closet with no light on the inside. So the light would be turned off and the door would be locked on the outside,” Tiffany Smith said.
The bill would require districts to pay for the cameras themselves.
“A lot of school systems across the state say, ‘Well, we can’t afford what it cost to put cameras in special needs classrooms.’ And so that becomes the push back. It cost, based on the Madison City Schools experience, around five thousand dollars a classroom,” said Senator Orr.
Senator Orr’s bill was approved by the Education Policy committee on Tuesday and was passed by a 30-1 vote in the state senate Thursday.