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MD lawmakers considering cameras in special ed classrooms; several states have similar laws

How MD bill compares to five other states
Cameras in Special Ed Classrooms - Graphic.png
Posted at 10:34 AM, Feb 03, 2022

In a hearing Thursday, Maryland lawmakers will consider a bill that would require county school boards to install cameras in special education classrooms. Several states have already enacted this kind of legislation.

West Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida have laws that put cameras in special education classrooms.

Texas was the first to put in a law, in 2015. Lawmakers that year required schools to put cameras in special education classrooms if a parent, trustee or staff member requested it.

Georgia lawmakers followed the Texas example in 2016, though more 'cautious,' as described in a paper published in the International Journal of Education Policy & Leadership in 2017.

In the article, Caught on Camera: Special Education Classrooms and Video Surveillance, authors Sara C. Heintzelman and Justin M. Bathon say, "[Georgia] took a slower approach... Georgia passed a pilot program that authorized the department of education to permit local districts meeting certain criteria to implement cameras in special education classrooms."

However, in Georgia, the law does not require those cameras to be installed.

The next state to pass a similar law, didn't do so until 2019, but did a little closer to home. West Virginia legislators passed Senate Bill 632, requiring schools to install cameras if a parent or certain other staff or administration member requests it.

Florida followed suit by passing a pilot program during the 2020 legislative session.

Most recently, in 2021, Louisiana passed a similar law, requiring cameras to be installed upon the written request of a parent or legal guardian.

Maryland's proposed bill goes even further than many of these previous bills, by requiring that all schools put cameras in special education classrooms. There is no requirement in the bill that a request be made by a parent or any other individual.