School districts face uncertainty over camera law for special needs classrooms

Poorly written law could cost districts

DALLAS - The author of "cameras in the classroom" legislation said Thursday he plans to draft a clarification bill when the regular session starts in January over concerns the current law places an unexpected financial burden on school districts across the state.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr,, D-Brownsville, said SB507 went through several changes during the 2015 session.

"It does not surprise me the final language will require further work," he said in a statement. "An unintended consequence of the final bill language was it may be interpreted to require cameras in every eligible classroom in an entire district."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion on Wednesday that as drafted the law "could impose significant financial burdens upon certain school districts."

Lawmakers in 2015 apparently meant to pass legislation that would allow a parent to ask for a video camera to be installed specifically in their child’s special-education classroom, Paxton wrote in a letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath on Tuesday. But the way the law is written, it actually requires entire school districts to install cameras in every special-education classroom after a parent’s request.

The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education is urging legislators to clarify the law and also fully fund the law.

Contributing: Edgar Walters, Texas Tribune

The "cameras in classrooms" law was passed with no state funding, leaving the responsibility of implementation on local school districts.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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