Longview ISD to install cameras in special needs classrooms

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:41 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:32 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Longview ISD has elected to place cameras in all their special education classrooms. And some of those classrooms already had cameras in place, but the school board thinks it’s important that all special ed classrooms are monitored for the safety of all involved.

Cameras in schools is not a new concept for Longview ISD. LISD superintendent James Wilcox says at least some of the recent incidents at J.L. Everhart that led to the indictments of 6 former LISD teachers were recorded on camera. So, did that lead to the decision to put cameras in all special needs classrooms?

“Not necessarily. The cameras have been in the majority of self-contained classrooms for two years,” Wilcox said.

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Students in self-contained classrooms remain in the same room all day.

“And the board just wanted to put that in all of them, just where the community would know, hey if you have a question, we can get you an answer. And for all our teachers to know, hey this is what’s going on in your room,” Wilcox said.

Ninette Farrar teaches Life Skills at Bramlette Elementary in Longview and already has a camera in her room.

“At first I was a little concerned about it, but then when I thought about it I realized that it was not only there to protect the students, but that it could also be used to protect me as a professional,” Farrar said.

Nikita Mumphrey, Head of School at Bramlette Elementary says there are cameras in the halls and outside on the building which she can access, but the one in the Life Skills classroom is for administration or law enforcement eyes only.

“The recordings are going to our regular server. We have our server here in the district. And so, the video is available to our administrative team,” Mumphrey said.

Wilcox says the recordings are kept for ninety days then recorded over, and anyone entering the room will know they are being recorded.

“We’re going to post notices, where when the parents enter the rooms that they know that they’re being videoed,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says right now only the special education classrooms will have cameras.

“A lot of these students are non-verbal, and they need something on their side,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says the video will only be looked at if there is a complaint filed from a parent or a staff member, then it will be reviewed.

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The Longview ISD Board of Trustees voted to install cameras in all district classrooms serving special needs students at a meeting Monday.