TEA Releases Final Rules on Cameras in Special Ed Settings
08.04.2016 — Pursuant to Senate Bill 507, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, TEA has released final rules concerning video surveillance in certain special education settings. The final rules are effective August 15, 2016. A request for an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton regarding SB 507 remains pending and could lead to rule changes in the future.
Public comments on the proposed rules were accepted between April 8, 2016, and May 9, 2016. A public hearing was also held on May 19, 2016.
TASA submitted both written and public comments. TEA accepted TASA’s recommendation to change language regarding child abuse and neglect reporting.
Some of the significant changes that were made to the rules after receiving public comments are as follows:
- Modifications were made to the definitions of “parent” and “staff member” to clarify that a request for video surveillance must be made by the parent of a child in the classroom or a staff member who is assigned to the classroom that is the subject of the request.
- Incident now means an “event or circumstance that involved alleged ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect’ ... of a student by an employee of the school district or charter school or alleged ‘physical abuse’ or ‘sexual abuse’ ... of a student by another student; and allegedly occurred in a self-contained classroom or other special education setting in which video surveillance ... is conducted.”
- An amendment was made to clarify that video surveillance applies during the regular school year and during extended school year services.
- A person who views a video recording and has cause to believe that the recording documents possible abuse or neglect of a child must submit a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or other authority.
- A school district employee who is the subject of a disciplinary action has the right to request the recording believed to document a possible violation. A school district must provide the recording for viewing.