Proposed Alabama bill would mandate security cameras in special needs classrooms

Mason City Police Department Launches Community Camera Program
Mason City Police Department Launches Community Camera Program(MGN)
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:48 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -A proposed Alabama bill promises to give parents of special needs children an extra sense of security when they are at school. If passed, the bill would require public schools to install security cameras in special needs classrooms.

Alabama Senator Arthur Orr introduced Senate Bill 56. Orr said cameras in the classroom can help not only students and parents but teachers as well.

“Special needs educators are very busy in the course of a day so they can’t be hands-on with all children at all times. If one child perhaps strikes another child then the camera could bear that out as to what happens,” Orr said.

Madison City Schools installed security cameras in their special education classrooms last year. This came after many parents voiced their concerns about what was happening inside the classrooms.

Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols said he was hesitant about the cameras at first but now fully supports them as it has been a big help in addressing parents’ concerns.

“We’ve had a couple of occasions where we went to look at the camera because there was a question about an incident and they were very helpful to clear up misunderstandings and take care of those issues,” Nichols said.

The main concern for Nichols about the bill is funding. He said his district paid $3,000 to purchase and install its security cameras. Orr said with this bill, he envisions grants being established that school systems would apply for to pay for the cameras. However, Nichols said if passed, a grant by application is simply not enough.

“If you think it’s a good idea and you think it needs to be there for the betterment of those students then why wouldn’t you give it to all of those students? I think if it’s important and they think it’s something that needs to be there then they need to find the money to fund it so they’re not pushing it off on the local school district or pushing it down the road for years to come,” Nichols said.

The bill has passed the Senate. It is now awaiting committee assignment in the House of Representatives.

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