FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – While lawmakers in Tallahassee debate a new proposal to allow schools districts to put cameras in classrooms, a select few in Broward County Public Schools already have them.
“That is happening right now, yeah,” Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said.
According to the Broward County Public Schools website, parents of a student can request a camera system with visual and audio capability be placed in a classroom if the child is a student with a disability and is an individualized education program from where the majority of the students have a disability. This came into existence after Florida House Bill 149 passed in July 2021.
“Everything that happens in a classroom is monitored and watched and heard all day. There is absolutely zero privacy for anybody, even when the students are in the room and the teacher needs to do a parent conference on the phone,” Fusco said.
Fusco doesn’t believe it is not necessary to video monitor educators at work.
“And it’s not in every classroom. We have parents that have not exercised that right. It’s kind of two fold. If one parent wants it, the camera goes in the room. If the other 10 parents don’t want it, they don’t have a say,” she said.
The bill filed by Rep. Bob Rommel, a Republican out of Naples, is proposing to allow districts to adopt policies that could install cameras in classrooms and require teachers to wear microphones for all students.
“I think if we can do it in a safe way to protect the privacy of students and teachers I think we should do it. I haven’t heard a response good or bad from any teachers but you know what it’s not their private space, it’s our children’s space too,” Rep. Rommel, R-District 160, said.
“It can be looked at any time. We don’t know how they’re going to keep in in record, so they never get that piece out, and also the funding, there is no funding,” Fusco said.
However, should there be a window into a student’s classroom in the first place?
“You want to play Big Brother every moment? That’s not how society should be. We need to get back to where we have trust, we have value, we have faith we have conversations, and we can work things out if something happens,” Fusco said.
The bill is still currently in the house.