New house bill proposal could require cameras in Florida public school classrooms

by | Dec 29, 2021


 

A new bill proposed in the Florida House of Representatives could authorize school districts the ability to adopt policies that would require video cameras in public school classrooms. The bill also calls for all recordings to be digitally stored for a minimum of three months.

House Bill 1055 (HB 1055), introduced by Rep. Bob Rommel (Naples), would require teachers to wear a microphone and would provide requirements that allow for the public viewing of footage. The bill would also mandate that if there is an interruption in the operation of the video camera for any reason, an explanation must be submitted in writing to the school principal and the district school board to explain the reason for and duration of the interruption.

If cameras capture an incident in the classroom, the bill would permit parents to request footage for personal viewing, so long as it shows abuse or neglect toward a student by a teacher, faculty member, or another student, however, the identity of any student not directly involved in the incident must be concealed through the means of a blur filter.

“The principal of the school is the custodian of the operated video camera pursuant to this section, all video recordings generated by that video camera, and access to such video recordings,” says the text of the bill. “A school with video cameras installed in classrooms shall retain the video recording until the conclusion of any investigation or any administrative or legal proceedings that result from the video recording has been completed, including, without limitation, the exhaustion of all appeals”

HB 1055 would not require school districts to adopt the measure, but rather allow them to hold meetings regarding the measure, and authorize camera installation if school board members vote to do so.

A similar Senate bill filed in December, SB 1300, seeks to ​​require all school board meetings in Florida to be recorded and streamed live on a publicly available website, also granting members of the public further freedom to input and interject.

SB 1300 would mandate that a minimum of 30 minutes at the start of every school board meeting be allocated for individual members of the public and representatives of groups to freely speak on any topic relating to the meeting and its proceedings. Each speaker would be given at least 3 minutes to touch on each agenda item.

Florida’s public schools have become a hotbed of political turmoil with disagreements over curriculum and COVID-19 handling procedures, leading to a bevy of bills seeking to regulate classroom activity.

HB 1055, along with SB 1300 and other school-focused bills, will be deliberated on in the upcoming legislative session cycle slated to begin on Jan. 11. If passed, HB 1055 would require school boards to vote on the installation of video cameras by January of 2023.

8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Yes! This is needed to protect children against radical indoctrination!

    Reply
    • Trina

      That’s stupid!

      Reply
  2. DCThree

    You think you have a teacher shortage now? Hope you enjoy homeschooling. And you all have time to sit and watch your kid being taught at school? Get a job!

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    This will only create more problems.
    1. Public schools do not teach critical race theory, the threats of this will cause teachers to leave.
    2. There is high teacher burn out now due to the amount of paperwork and other duties that take time from teaching, this will increase and more professionals will leave the classrooms.
    3. It seems whenever there are social concerns in society the blame for all the ill’s fall on public schools! This will cause teachers to leave.
    4. The push for years by “some” to promote charter schools is being won, parents educate yourselves….follow the money or lack thereof for your child’s school.
    5. Bottom line is this; ,teachers are leaving and have been, are you as parents (who by the way found it difficult during COVID-19 to homeschool)
    Willing to step up educate yourselves to what is really going on and support rather than tear down our public schools?
    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!
    Signed,
    A teacher leaving the profession this year.😔

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Bye bye.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I hear you loud and clear. I too will hang up my gloves and leave. This is ridiculous and a total lack of respect towards teachers everywhere!

      Reply
  4. Deborah Coffey

    Let’s see…we’ve got CRT, banning books in both school and public libraries, LGBTQ sports and bathroom bans, Democratic Satan-worshiping pedophiles running child sex rings, immigrants causing all the Covid, and now, these right wing crazies want to spy on teachers. What on this earth has filled these people with such rage and hatred and bigotry and the ability to be conned to such a degree?

    Teaching is a “calling,” not a JOB. If America wants to have any teachers left, it had better stop these poor conned people from advancing any agenda at all.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    I have been teaching for about 9 years. If I have to be micromanaged and scrutinized by cameras in the classroom, I might have to look for another job. This would be the end of fun in the classroom. No goof off days to give the students reward days and motivation. No building relationships with students because teachers will be scared if they are not doing everything right they can lose their job. It basically makes the school day very clinical and business like. No stopping lessons to give a good talk on being kind and what that means because teachers could get in trouble for being off task. There is no trust in teachers and that is sad. The teacher shortage is about to get a lot shorter.

    Reply

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