301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

5.27.21 – Louisiana Illuminator

In an effort to protect special education students, many of whom are nonverbal, the Louisiana House Education Committee Thursday approved a bill that would require schools to install cameras in special needs classrooms if requested by a child’s guardian. The bill advanced without objection.

Sen. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge), author of SB 86, said his legislation is a response to “parents who unfortunately had some bad experiences where their children were abused in these classrooms.”

“If a parent suspects something’s going on — it could be a teacher or it could be other children — they can get with the school to review the footage on the camera to see what’s going on,” Foil said.

The footage is confidential and can only be accessed by the superintendent, a parent or guardian of a recorded student or law enforcement, according to the legislation. Cameras are also prohibited from being placed in an area where students change or remove clothing.

When it was introduced in the Senate Education Committee May 6, Sen. Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge), chair of the committee, said special education students being abused unknowingly “is a problem and hopefully this bill will get through the process and address the problem.”

“This is just one step in the right direction,” Fields said.

The bill moves to the House floor.