Dallas to Require Cameras in Special Education Classrooms

cctv, camera, security While a very similar bill (HB 1292 – Public Schools – Special Education Classrooms – Use of Video Recording Devices) recently failed in the Maryland General Assembly, Trustees of the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) voted to require video monitoring in all special education classrooms making them one of the first major districts in the United States to do so.

The school boarded voted to require recordings to the objection of DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who noted the extremely high cost and relative lack of interest by families to see such footage. As a part of research into this idea, DISD received responses from 42 districts across the country, none of which mandated cameras in special education classrooms.

From Dallas News:

Officials said it would cost about $3.5 million to get all 479 classrooms equipped with the right infrastructure and to cover storage fees for the recordings. The policy states that recordings wouldn’t take place in blended classrooms where students with disabilities are in general education settings with other students.

Administrators estimate the surveillance would cost about $1.5 annually. State law, which went into effect in the 2016-17 school year, gives parents and staff the right to review recordings of specific incidents. The recordings are not available to the general public.

The Maryland bill that was introduced would have been statewide legislation that required at least one video recording device in each special education classroom in which the majority of regularly attending students were provided with special education instruction. Installation for this in Maryland public schools would have an enormous fiscal impact, with some counties reporting costs in the millions.

View MACo’s testimony on HB 1292.