Jul 312015
 
 July 31, 2015  Surveillance, U.S., Youth & Schools

Eva-Marie Ayala reports:

Texas special education advocates say a new law requiring video cameras in some classrooms will protect those students most at risk of being abused.

The law says school districts must install cameras in special education classrooms if parents, teachers or school staffers request them. The law also requires that parents be allowed to view the videos.

[…]

The new law limits the list of those allowed to watch a video. That includes a parent or school employee who is involved in an incident, police officers, nurses, staff trained in de-escalation and restraint techniques, and state authorities who could be investigating.

Read more on The Dallas Morning News.

The thrust of the article is concern over costs pitted against concerns about protecting vulnerable students. There’s no specific mention of FERPA in this article, but the reference to federal student privacy laws suggests that there may be a FERPA issue brewing here. Can parents view videos of other people’s children if those children are caught on camera during an incident involving their child? It sounds likely that they could. What privacy rights does the other student and their parents have?

Are classroom videos “education records” under FERPA? If so, how do you allow parents to access their child’s records but protect other children’s? This could get messy and even more costly quickly. Not that it’s not a good idea to protect the most vulnerable children who often can’t tell us what’s happened to them, but I do see some student privacy concerns here.

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