All too often we see stories that involve the mistreatment and abuse of special needs students in our schools. Of course the majority of those in the field are loving, dedicated professionals, but when we see cases like an autistic boy banished to a box or that of a boy shoved in a ball bag in the name of discipline, it's clear something needs to be done. That something, according to a group of parents in Lubbock, Tex., should be the installation of cameras in special needs classrooms.
While it may seem extreme, these parents say the cases of abuse are too extreme to ignore. According to KCBD, their efforts were sparked by an incident in April in which abuse allegations were made against a teacher in their school. While Child Protective Services eventually found no evidence of abuse, the parents aren't satisfied that something didn't happen.
Sherry Reed is the mother of 14-year-old Kelsay, who has Angelman Syndrome and is completely nonverbal. She wants to see cameras installed in special needs classrooms across the country, though privacy laws currently prevent them from being there (they are allowed in hallways or other "common" areas). Reed told the station:
I'm her mom. She can't talk, she can't defend herself and so I'm going to do that. If it means driving to Washington D.C. to stand on the steps of Congress to get something passed so nobody ever has to experience this ever again ... that's what I plan on doing.
I don't blame her a bit, and neither should teachers. Being in the profession they should realize just how vulnerable special needs students can be, and how difficult and emotional parenting them can be. So if cameras provide a little assurance to parents that their children -- some of whom can't defend themselves -- aren't being harmed, what's the problem? The recordings could also protect teachers in the case of false accusations, and I would think many would welcome the cameras. Overall, it seems like a winning strategy for everyone except would-be abusers.
What do you think of the idea of cameras being placed in special needs classrooms?
Image via Blyzz/Flickr