Classroom Surveillance Policies Considered

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Mountain View School Board approved a few personnel policy changes June 14, including new classroom surveillance policies that were adopted with a 5-2 vote.

Supt. Brent Howard explained that cameras are not being installed in classrooms yet. The district has not taken bids on equipment, and it’s not certain when or if they will do it.

Cameras are already in place in other areas, he said, just not in classrooms.

“We’re looking at putting cameras in the classrooms for a multitude of reasons,” Howard said. One is that the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds can be used to do contact tracing, which would be facilitated by cameras.

Another is to protect both teachers and students, Howard said.

Howard said the staff wanted some policies developed regarding camera surveillance, including allowing teachers to be present whenever their classroom video is reviewed. This policy was added, but with a clause that would allow quick access to video in an emergency such as an active shooter situation.

There will be a chain of command to be followed regarding the surveillance video, and teachers can request it be used for evaluations. Also, a log will be kept of when video is pulled for viewing.

Howard presented these changes to the board along with some other updates provided by Arkansas School Boards Association. These included a change to the Reduction in Force (RIF) policy that would prevent a certified teacher from being bumped by someone teaching under a waiver from licensure.

Board member Lori Dobbins made a motion to adopt all the recommended policies. Dickie Bishop seconded the motion but then withdrew his second when he realized it included the portions about classroom surveillance, which had just been introduced.

Mark Bauerlein then seconded the motion, and it was approved 5-2, with Bishop and Rachelle Stewart voting no.

Stewart noted that it will still have to go back before the personnel policy committee for approval.

The board also approved a few student handbook changes presented by Curriculum Coordinator Melissa Howard.

One change is that students who are eligible for free or reduced meals may take up to six hours of concurrent credit courses for no cost to them, as long as the courses are taught on the campus by a school employee.

See the full story in the June 23, 2021 issue.

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