Special needs students deal with a variety of conditions and disorders that require a different approach for educators and teachers. Developmental disabilities that special needs students may be afflicted with include autism, physical and developmental disabilities and forms of hyper-activity disorders. Unfortunately, these students and children are vulnerable and more susceptible to abuse. Solutions to child abuse found in the classroom are being proposed in Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio, Texas, New Jersey and Rhode Island in the form of video cameras established in the special needs students classrooms. This proposal is not without its detractors, but those advocating the system are using modern social media to gather support to stop abuse towards special needs children.
Advocates for video cameras in the classrooms state that when educators and adults in charge with the children know they are being watched and monitored there is less likelihood that they will abuse the children, whether it is physically, mentally or verbally. One parent of an autistic boy in Ohio has gathered over 4,000 signatures on a Change.org petition. The parent is planning to submit the petition to President Obama in the hopes of influencing legislation to get video cameras into special needs classrooms.
Opponents to the plan say that the video cameras are a violation of First Amendment rights and present an Orwellian aspect to their work and teaching environment. The NEA (National Educators Association) teachers’ union is vocal opponents of the proposed camera action on the basis it will cause many teachers undo stress. The NEA spokesperson says that teachers and classroom educators are carefully screened and vetted through FBI background checks already and that the cameras are an unneeded step of monitoring.
The advocates are currently using various Facebook and social media sites to gather signatures and support. In addition they are using the social Internet platforms to educate and inform a segment of the public that is not yet aware of the abuse situation in the schools. It is important children, particularly those that may not be able to defend themselves, are protected from harm. The video camera solution may be a way of doing so, but before instituted must be thoroughly investigated to ensure no teachers’ rights are compromised in the process.
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.
Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.