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TxSER Comments on Commissioner's Proposed Rules for Cameras in Classrooms

As many of you know, Texas statute requires districts/schools to install cameras in certain special education settings when requested in writing by parents or certain school/district personnel. The law was originally passed in 2015 with the stated intent “to provide protection for students with special needs.” But there were many issues regarding its interpretation and implementation that needed clarifying. We at TxSER had been hearing from parents all over the state of requests for cameras being ignored, unreasonably delayed and/or denied. Parents also reported video footage being improperly withheld, tampered with or even destroyed. In response to these and other concerns, the law was amended by the Legislature in 2017. You can find the full current text of the statute here.

While not ideal, the goal of the 2017 amendment as stated in the Author’s/Sponsor’s Statement of Intent was to remove ambiguity, “to ensure the legislature's original intent is met and the parents of Texas' most vulnerable children receive the peace of mind they deserve.” Once the law was enacted, the duty then fell to the Commissioner of Education and TEA to revise the rules in the Texas Administrative Code incorporating the new statutory requirements, and the additional guidance provided, in order to ensure administrative compliance at the state and local level. The most recent attempt at revising the Rules was posted in the Texas Register and on TEA’s website for public comment on August 31, 2018. Unfortunately, TxSER fears these Proposed Revisions do more to protect school districts and discourage parents from pursuing enforcement of the law than to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable children. You can find a copy of our submitted written comments here.

Christine Broughal
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We envision a state in which all individuals with disabilities are identified, and receive an education that maximizes their future potential for post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and independent living.

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