KILLEEN - District officials in Killeen turned on 8 monitoring cameras in 4 special education classrooms Monday morning, this comes after a number of parent concerns surfaced about the districts special education program.
The cameras were installed because district parents concerned about their students safety asked for them. Senate Bill 507 requires school districts to put cameras in special education classrooms upon request. However, parents can only request the cameras if their child spends more than half the day in the same special education classroom during school.
Angela Garvin is one of the parents who initially pushed for the cameras to be installed after she claims her 6 year old son Marcus who suffers from Cerebral Palsy was mistreated at Reeces Creek Elementary.
"He didn't want to get out of the car when I'd take him to school, he would scream, kick and cry. On several occasions he fell out of the car door because he didn't want to go inside" says KISD parent Angela Garvin.
Angela claims her son's odd behavior was because he was being mistreated at school. She says her son's teachers were not changing his diapers when needed and that they didn't use her son's communication cards which is critical to his success as he is non verbal.
Angela pulled Marcus out of school 9 days after he started and soon after submitted her request for camera's in his new classroom at Cavazos Elementary in Nolanville. The cameras at Cavazos were turned on today. Angela says it's coming a little late but that it's a good start.
"My hope is that they will deter those bad teachers from doing horrible things to special ed kids" says Garvin.
The cameras will turn on 30 minutes before school starts, run through the entire school day and then cut off 30 minutes after school is over. The monitors will also record both video and audio. District officials say they hope the monitors will enhance their current safety measures while also rebuilding relationships with concerned parents in the district.
"If there are any trust issues that are currently present as it relates to parents and the district, this can re establish that sense of trust because the district is showing that they're making a real effort to honor those requests and brings us in compliance with Senate Bill 507" says Shannon Rideout, KISD Spokesperson.
KISD released a statement to Channel 6 News explaining how a parent of a student in one of the classrooms being monitored may request to review the recorded video:
"A person may notify the District of an alleged incident occurring in a self-contained classroom or other special education setting where video/audio surveillance is in effect by completing an Incident Report form and providing it to the campus principal. The Incident Report form may be obtained from the ‘Students and Parents Resource’ tab of the Killeen Independent School District website. The person making the Incident Report should be as specific as possible regarding the date, time, and location of the suspected incident, should include any witnesses, and should describe the suspected incident as clearly as possible. The Incident Report should be provided to the campus principal as soon as possible preferably no later than 2 business days after the reporter becomes aware of a suspected incident."
For information on how to request cameras in your child's special education classroom visit https://www.killeenisd.org/frontPageV3/