A bill to allow cameras in special education classrooms, if requested by the parents, advances from Senate Education. Baton Rouge Senator Franklin Foil authored Senate Bill 86 on behalf of the Louisiana Development Disabilities Council and concerned parents whose special needs children experienced mental and/or physical abuse in the classroom.

“I’m not suggesting it’s a widespread problem but simply a safeguard,” said Foil.

Baton Rouge physician and mother of a nonverbal special needs daughter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Christian said she will never forget the day when she sat in an Individualized Education Program for her daughter and learned of ongoing abuse.

“And the principal proudly told us that Grace was making social progress because they were not having to strap her down nearly as often as they had in the past. In fact, it was apparent they had been strapping her down every day,” said Christian.

Tonya Williams shared the story of how her son Tyler was shuffled around in several schools and when she found bruises on his body, she received conflicting responses from administrators. Williams said cameras in the classroom could have saved her son from ongoing abuse.

“And I could have helped him from not suffering as long because I didn’t know what was going on. I tried everything I could, but I didn’t know what was going on because he couldn’t tell me,” said Williams.

The price tag to install the cameras could cost up to $8 million, but only if every special education classroom receives a request from a parent or guardian for the cameras.

Parents also noted that the use of cameras in the classroom could also protect teachers who are falsely accused of abuse.

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