Letters to the Editor

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SCHOOLS: Put cameras in classrooms

Letter by Lyle Laws, Puyallup on May 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm with 79 Comments »
May 4, 2012 1:21 pm

If cameras and sound equipment were installed in every classroom and in the hallways in public schools there could be a number of positive outcomes, but of course, teachers unions and the ACLU would probably fight tooth-and-nail against the idea.

If rowdy students who often disrupt classroom activities to the point that teachers have to spend far too much of their time dealing with them, knew that what they were doing or saying was being recorded much of the poor behavior would be eliminated.

At present when teachers are being evaluated, they know well in advance when the administrators will be showing up and can prepare accordingly. Let’s face it, almost anyone can put on a good show for a two or three visits from their superiors. It would be far more meaningful if teachers knew that they might be being evaluated at any given time.

Many students fear going to school because bullies often make their lives miserable, but if there is anything bullies fear it is being caught in the act. So if they knew that their activities in the hallways where much of the bullying takes place were being recorded, schools would be much safer places for all kids.

To those who would argue that “Big Brother” would be spying, I would remind them that “Big Brother” picks up the tab for public schools and should have the right to know if his little brothers and sisters are receiving a quality education in a safe environment.

Leave a comment Comments → 79
  1. Bandito says:

    The teachers would love cameras. The students would have to behave.

  2. I’m for it!!!

  3. kluwer says:

    Gee just what we need another teacher/union bashing thread.

  4. And if we installed video cameras in all the homes in America, I bet it would cut down on domestic violence.

  5. dtacoma says:

    I’m totally supportive of this idea. Make them realtime streaming videos too, so parents can log on anytime of the day and see firsthand how wonderfully their blessed offspring behave when they think their parents aren’t around.

  6. cclngthr says:

    My letter said the same thing last week when 2 incidences were reported about teacher misconduct.

    In my classroom, I had hidden cameras and it caught students doing what they were not supposed to do, as well as caught staff coming into the room and doing things I didn’t authorize and approve of.

  7. chile74 says:

    Lyle – great letter – count me in. When I was in school, kids who disrupted the class were sent to the principal’s office and the parents had to pick them up. Alternative – Some were sent to study hall to spend the rest of the day. It’s a parenting problem and the teachers shouldn’t have to deal with it. Parents need to insure their kids will behave. Not that difficult.

  8. cclngthr says:

    As a teacher, being “evaluated” at anytime is a given and I always thought of that while I taught. Not only parents do informal evaluations of teachers, but also students and other people coming in contact with the class.

    When I started substituting, formal evaluations don’t necessarily occur as with a full time teaching position. Anyone can write up a substitute feedback evaluation and this determines how well the sub is received, and ability to keep the job. Might as well do this with everyone.

  9. LornaDoone says:

    Lyle, I don’t know of a teacher that is unwilling for volunteer parents to join the classroom everyday of the week. We could save all of the cost of material and installation if parents would participate in the classroom.

    As to evaluation, I wonder how many parents are actually qualified to know what a teacher is supposed to do, given the structure and regulations that they must follow.

    I just have one question – how do you plan on increasing the cost of running a school (cameras, installation, monitoring all of the cameras 100% of the time, etc) and cut taxes at the same time? Does this come under the category of “bigger government”?

  10. RLangdon says:

    Big Brother is watching YOU!

  11. cclngthr says:


    Parents evaluate the judgements of the teacher based on what happens in schools and what their kids state what happens in school. It is an informal evaluation, not a formal evaluation.

    With substitute evaluations, anyone can fill out a standard form that gives the district notification on how well that person does in that building. In TSD, the sub is evluated on the following areas”
    Classroom management skills:
    Instructional skills:
    Interaction with staff and students:
    Other (asks to specify)

    The evaluator is asked to specify whether it was done by personal observation or by other means.

  12. cadana1961 says:

    Lyle, you shot yourself in the foot when you threw in the teacher unions and ACLU bashing … It’s unnecessary and ruins your point … Aside from your snarkiness, how would you pay for these cameras? Another classroom/school fee???? It’s impractical to even suggest such an implement …

  13. sandblower says:

    Spy on your neighbor too while you are at it.
    Mr. Laws’ ideas are the kind that drives society to the brink of not being a society. The best word to describe the action is idiocy.

  14. jrdndd says:

    “At present when teachers are being evaluated, they know well in advance when the administrators will be showing up and can prepare accordingly.”

    Not sure what school you are talking about here, but my administrators walk in whenever they feel like it…and I welcome them.

    Also…Where the $$$$$ coming for this???

  15. RLangdon says:

    For years we have known that elevators have hidden cameras in them, recording the unsuspecting passengers. We have all seen YouTube videos from Cops who have “Dash-Cams” in their patrol cars, and School busses that have cameras (Bus-Cams?) in them. Why can’t we have Class-Cams and Hall-Cams in schools? In fact, why not even have Toity-Cams as well? Because we all know that’s where the kids go to smoke their cigarettes.

  16. LornaDoone says:

    cclngthr says:
    May 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm LornaDoone,
    Parents evaluate the judgements of the teacher based on what happens in schools and what their kids state what happens in school. It is an informal evaluation, not a formal evaluation.

    My point is that the “evaluation” is not much more than personal opinion. As a musician, I’m subject to personal opinions, which I take with a grain of salt as I’m aware that most of the opinions come from people that don’t know a 1/16th note from a bass clef.

    Luckily, the measure of my success is how much money the venue makes or how the private party is satisfied with the result of the evening and then knew in advance what they were hiring. Teachers, on the other hand, are being judged the opinions of people with no knowledge of what it takes to do the job, and yet they have impact on the ability for that person to make a living.

    Teachers need support, not the biased opinion of someone that has no knowledge of what it takes to do their job, but knows they are doing it wrong.

  17. lylelaws says:


    Just for the record, I spent nearly thirty years as a teacher and an administrator in the Tacoma School District, so I think I earned the right to an opinion. What’s your bone-fide one the subject?

    I can’t recall one time when I didn’t know ahead of time when someone was going to visit my classroom to do an evaluation.

    Good teachers would bennefit from cameras (not hidden) because they would show that they were doing a quality job, and would discourage misbehavior. The only teachers who would have anything to worry about would be those who are doing sub-standard jobs.

    As to the cost, what is the cost of the fact that rowdy students keep classmates from learning because teachers have to spend so much of their time just trying to keep order.

  18. lylelaws says:


    Thanks for your comment. I consider an insult from you as a compliment.

  19. cclngthr says:


    My view on HIDDEN cameras takes a position to spot trouble either from students OR teachers. My letter last week spoke of this, and I used hidden video to capture student behavior, as well as staff misconduct. My letter mentioned a parent using a hidden audio devise to spot teacher misconduct in New Jersey, which I am full support of as a teacher.

    I have more than once pulled a student and their parent and showed the video when they argued with me over misbehavior. They never knew where it was or if it was turned on. Cleaned up misbehavior in a BIG HURRY. I am boss in my classroom and getting tough on behavior is one thing I am fairly strict with. I once caught a boy trying to hump a girl, and another boy jacking off, which was on video; and I used that to stop the behavior permanently. It also showed behaviors which identified correct kids; as of who actually started it (sometimes, the good kid starts it and the bad kid ends up with the punishment) and when a good kid was identified as the agressor against a bad kid, things did improve.

    I also have caught staff members doing things I did not approve of, and when the video was shown, they backed off in a hurry as well. I have absolutely zero tolerance for behavior that is not owned up to and I don’t approve of. As with the NJ case, staff bullying kids is a problem, particularly with special needs kids.

  20. cclngthr says:


    In a classroom, it can be fairly obvious to any person whether (or not) that teacher knows what they are doing in the classroom. When I step in a classroom, I’m expecting kids to be actively involved in learning and the teacher conducting business as needed for that class, whether it be direct instruction or individual/group instruction. I can tell very easily when something is off just by looking at the interactions of the teacher and kids. Are kids obnoxious or just being noisy due to the instruction being given?

  21. lylelaws says:

    cadana 1961

    If you had a son or daughter who was afraid of going to school because other kids took their money,or terrorized them in other ways during passing time in the hallways, would you still be concerned about the cost of security cameras?

  22. RLangdon says:

    Forget “hidden cameras” in classrooms, and hallways. Put in surveillance cameras all over the school, in obvious places so they can be seen by all. Use the cameras for deterrence as well as gathering evidence!

  23. bobcat1a says:

    Lyle, you are a little out of date with evaluations. Administrators do unannounced “drop-ins” all the time. That said, as a teacher I would welcome out in the open and advertised cameras in my classroom. And I encourage parents to come sit in anytime at their convenience without prior notice. Want to guess how often I see these parents? How about once every three or four years.

  24. cclngthr says:

    Visible cameras offer people to look for areas not visible by the camera to do their dirty work. Having hidden cameras create an unknown aspect of where the camera is at and what areas the camera can see.

    People know that the camera is there, but don’t know where the camera is or what visible area the camera is focused on.


    The camera I use is a small digital camera that is capable of being wirelessly connected to a computer, or have its own memory card and is easy enough to be placed anywhere and be easily moved from place to place.

    I did have several parents who wanted me to focus on their child, but I declined due to what I felt I needed to do with it. Sure, they were visible on camera, but I thought it was not appropriate to focus on one kid.

  25. alindasue says:

    lylelaws said, “If you had a son or daughter who was afraid of going to school because other kids took their money,or terrorized them in other ways during passing time in the hallways, would you still be concerned about the cost of security cameras?”

    While cclngthr has presented some valid uses for cameras (hidden or otherwise) in the classroom – especially in a special ed class where reviewing the actions of the day may help with individualized lesson planning – security cameras do not necessarily act as a deterrent to bullying.

    If we were to have cameras all over the school, in all halls and classrooms, it would create literally many hundreds of hours of recordings every week. There’s no way it can all be watched. At best, it will have the recording available if the victim comes forward to report a when and where of a bully attack. Most victims won’t come forward for fear of reprisal. A bully knows that and so doesn’t usually care what the camera records.

    I’m not saying that the cameras are necessarily bad to have. I’m only pointing out that cameras are only secondary to other methods as an effective way to deal with bullying.

  26. RLangdon says:

    cc, Then put up signs that say “There are also Hidden Cameras on campus, SO BEHAVE!!!”

  27. Frankenchrist says:

    Mitt Romney wants to install cameras in the nation’s bedrooms to enforce his mandatory missionary-position and anti-kink laws.

  28. harleyrider1 says:

    Doesn’t work Lyle in terms of prevention. My son was punched in the face, in front of the camera, in a school hallway. My son who the camera showed didn’t do anything except be the target for the bully, went to the hospital.

    The bully went to Remann Hall for the day, given a slap on the wrist, and allowed to return to the school. My son who remained afraid as did other students, either chose to put up with the fear or go to a different school. He left.

    Adults need to do the right thing. We need to stop coddling bad teachers and bad students. School should not be a “harbor” for all. It is a place where people are allowed the privilege to teach and children are allowed the privilege to learn and attend.

    Do not allow either to remain if they cannot fulfill their basic responsibility. We have no obligation to evil. If we started to set examples, demonstrate school was a privilege, attitudes would change rather quickly.

    Send those that want to disrupt to school on McNeil Island with like students.

  29. Lynnwoodfats says:

    I think that this is a great idea and could solve most of the problems in our society today. That is, if we don’t stop at just the schools.

    Here’s my plan; We give cameras to half the population and then those people with the cameras “film” the other half of the population. We could trade off every once in a while.
    Why this could change the world as we know it. Maybe an end to crime. A boost to the economy, all those people working, filming everybody else. Of couse people in gov’t would be exempt from being followed by someone with a camera.
    Just think, with half the population keeping tabs on the other half, getting away with any criminal acts would be very difficult. We wouldn’t need police anymore, ($$$ saved).
    I can think of nothing but good could come from this.
    This idea makes feel so good and energized, that I want to go out and run a bunch of red lights, in it’s honor.

  30. LornaDoone says:

    lylelaws says:
    May 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm LornaDoone,
    Just for the record, I spent nearly thirty years as a teacher and an administrator in the Tacoma School District, so I think I earned the right to an opinion. What’s your bone-fide one the subject?

    I can’t recall one time when I didn’t know ahead of time when someone was going to visit my classroom to do an evaluation.

    Well, Lyle, since you asked – from 2006 to 2009 I worked with school districts setting up mentoring programs, thus I was working with some of the more difficult kids.

    Based on what you have said your age is, it would appear that you haven’t served in a school setting for over 20 years or more. You have a right to your opinion, but that doesn’t make your opinion right.

    My challenge to you was that usually, you are talking about “smaller government”. Today you bring to the table a program that would require a couple of cameras per classroom, all of the infrastructure to run those cameras, monitor and full time personnel to watch the monitors, repairs, maintenence, etc, etc, etc. Explain how, in your world of “smaller government” you are going to accomplish this feat.

    Regardless of your teaching career, you are hypocritical on this issue.

    By the way, my son, the principal, visits classrooms without advance warning. He thinks it’s his job to do so.

  31. kluwer says:

    Once again the right wing anti govt wants and needs big govt ‘solutions’ to problems.
    “get Govt out of our lives” is just another way of saying ‘use big Govt to control those I don’t like!’

  32. BillieJ says:

    If the ACLU opposes something, it is a violation of the Constitution.

  33. spotted1 says:

    ccl, I get your point and respect it. Cameras, hidedn or otherwise may or may not deter behavior up front, but they sure do help on the prevention side of things. Which in turn becomes a deterent to the classroom.

    One item I should point out is that you probably had support from your administration. That is the key to this whole issue. It does not matter whether the cameras are on or off, hidden or not, if the administration does not support the students and discipline them when appropriate. I could see a teacher dealing wtih significant issues if that piece was not in place. Especially when the childs parents complained about the issue to the school.

    On the flip side of that, I have seen cameras used very effectively on busses to reduce behavior, especially when the kids realize that the cameras are really good. One student in particular argued with the school and the administration until the parent watched the video. End of arguement cause the video did not lie.

  34. cclngthr says:

    When I first started using the camera, I had a great principal who supported me. Other principals didn’t; and those principals also had trouble handling the job as principal. My attorney, however wrote a stern letter to district officials guaranteeing me the legal right to use the camera, and it was OKed through HR, who also noted the various problems with staff and students in the school where the camera was used and caught the suspects.

    The camera I used (a single camera) was stategically placed and it had a wide angle lens that was able to view the whole room. I also moved it from time to time and kids never knew where it was. It was able to be self contained, but has the ability to be networked into a central computer where clips of hours are viewed if there was a problem. How I used mine is if I was told of a problem, I immediately went to my laptop where I viewed the clip of the video to determine what happened, and I could take that clip, separate it from the larger file and use that to show staff, police, parents or whomever I wanted to show it to.

    As far as your son visiting classrooms without warning; he did not evaluate without warning. Lyle is correct on this issue. Teachers know in advance when they will be evaluated. Principals coming in unannounced are not there to evaluate. They are there to see if there are any behavioral problems in the class; not to make an evaluation. If it were me as principal, I’d be formally evaluating teachers unannounced, and placing an evaluation report in the teachers personnel file after each “visit.” Until there is an evaluation report written and delivered, no evaluation is done.

  35. kluwer says:

    If you want to ‘fix’ schools, fix parents!

  36. lylelaws says:


    “If you want to fix schools, fix parents!”

    Please explain how we do that. Many of the students who misbehave and keep other kids from learning come from homes without fathers.

    Please read the article about John Kitna’s challenge in today’s paper.

  37. commoncents says:

    Ok, so little Johnny is a pain in the rear and is constantly disrupting the class in minor ways. What is this camera going to do? Oh, I see…it will tell little Johnny’s parent tha their child is disruptive? Do you honestly think they care? Jiminy Xmas..if they actually cared then their child wouldn’t be the disruptor to begin with. Now, we have a kid whose parents don’t care (which we knew) and he hasn’t done anything criminal (which we knew) so now what…he goes back into the same class to disrupt even more…So what’s changed? Nothing…except we have spent a ton of money buying cameras and linking them to central computers, staffing etc etc etc…all to prevent the good kids from being disruptors in class (which they already don’t) and prove to the bad kids that even video evidence won’t do a damned thing. stupid stupid stupid…you want this? fine…my kid ain’t a problem in his class so it won’t bother me but don’t come asking me to fund it.

  38. commoncents says:


    “Please explain how we do that. Many of the students who misbehave and keep other kids from learning come from homes without fathers.”

    Please explain how cameras will suddenly make these kids behave. There are cameras on buses and we still have assaults (sexual and otherwise). Heck, dash cams don’t prevent cops from being morons. And you think a classroom camera is going to prevent a kid from cracking jokes and being disruptive when there is no accountability at home? Really?

  39. cclngthr says:

    kluwer’s comment is consistant with those who feel parents should be those who parent exactly like a wealthy person would. They typically are white, married, have full time jobs that have benefits, have college degrees, own their homes, have newer model vehicles and are able to afford many things that I would consider a luxury item. They also do not meet the financial requirements for free/reduced lunch as well.

    He probably thinks society should limit the ability to be parents to that particular group which has the attributes that I described.

    Kitna’s students at Lincoln typcally do not fit that category. A lot of people would like to see an automatic permanent revocation of parental rights for that particular group Kitna is referring to.

  40. RLangdon says:

    commoncents, use you COMMON SENSE for a change! The cameras are not only useful as a deterrent, but also to gather evidence that can be used to properly punish offenders.

  41. commoncents says:

    properly punish them how, Langdon. Oh, my…little johnny was insulting to Professor Plum and the class laughed and laughed and made it difficult for Professor Plum to continue teaching. Yes, that’s disruptive…but it’s not going to keep this kid out of the classroom. So he gets detention…big deal. You people act and talk like these teachers don’t have any proof that the kids are a disruption and this video camera is the saving grace. I’m sorry – it won’t change a thing.

    What would change things? Parent’s actually being parents…teaching them to respect themselves and each other. Teach them to respect authority. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them but you need to respect them.

    I will add this…hearing how the vocal left spoke of President Bush and the vocal right speak of President Obama…we are in a world of hurt. If people don’t respect the President of the United States and allow him to speak without interruption then how in the world do you think they will act and react to a teacher that they don’t like or agree with?

  42. thebigteacher says:

    This shows how little this pseudo-intellectual knows about teachers. Most would have little trouble with cameras (just another layer of regulation imposed on us),as we are constantly observed. Now the students and their parents might be a different matter.

  43. commoncents says:

    cc – how about you let Jon Kitna actually teach a while before you hold him up as an example. Certainly he should be commended for coming in and teaching our kids when he doesn’t have the financial need to do it. But that doesn’t mean his methods will work any better.

    and in respect to your comment about the wealthy…As an upper middle class individual, I would hope that people don’t raise their children like the wealthy or the poor. Raise them to be respectful, hard working, desiring to achieve, accepting, critical thinking, responsible, and dedicated to their family, friends, and country. None of those things require money…but they do require effort along with those same attributes. Money has nothing to do with it.

  44. RLangdon says:

    commoncents, When it’s simply one person’s word against another’s, its unprovable and consequently non-punishable. When there is video evidence that makes little Johnny’s bad behavior provable, then punishment can be given, up to and including EXPELLING little Johnny so that Professor Plum will not have to deal with the little brat anymore, and can teach the rest of the well behaved kids. If little Johnny is allowed back in school, he can be sent to the Alternative class or school, and be with kids like himself, under the watchful eye of Gunny R. Lee Ermey or his like.

  45. commoncents says:

    thebigteacher – Obviously you’re a teacher. Please tell me how many kids in your class have behaved so poorly at one time that they would be immediately expelled from your class (and not transferred to another class to behave poorly there – but expelled) and weren’t because you simply didn’t have any “evidence”? In your entire career..

    ok, now how many students have you had that failed to achieve to their maximum because they simply didn’t receive any support or encouragement from home?

    I’d be thrilled if the number from A was higher than B…but I’m guessing B outnumbers A by a wide margin.

  46. commoncents says:

    Langon..ummm this is a classroom. There are generally 20 to 30 other people who would be witness to said events. If they were sufficiently bad enough to actually result in expulsion then I would gather that one of those students would support the teacher’s version of the events.

  47. cclngthr says:

    The video camera can be used to show parents what the kid is doing, and also provides schools the documentation of said behavior. It also can be used to protect kids and teachers from kids who lie and weasle out of the issue. It also protects kids from teachers who abuse the kids.

    What discipline practices schools use with the cameras depends on the individuals who run the school. By law, we have compulsory education, which means each and every kid must be educated by the government if the parents do not show evidence of schooling elsewhere, i.e. private or homeschooling that the government has approved of.

    Schools are mandated to enroll all kids, even those who have criminal backgrounds. When I taught at Remann Hall, I remember seeing court orders for those kids to attend and participate in school. Schools can’t arbitrarily tell the court the kid can’t be enrolled due to behavior or crime committed, or educational issues they have. The law is the law, and schools automatically lose on that issue.

    As I read your comments, you want this:
    1. Separation of all kids in SPED in separate facilities; likely refusing to educate them altogether.
    2. Any misbehavior results in automatic permanent expulsion from all schools in the nation.

    You lose on both points because the compulsory education mandate requires students to be educated (in a school facility or be in one) by an approved (by the government) system. The law does not require the burden of proof of an education by the parents. The burden of proof actually lies with the government to see to it that each and every kid has the opportunity to be involved in an education program.

    The law does not require participation by students or sets a gpa standard (which I think should be in place). All it requires is seat time.

    Those other 20-30 kids might not want to be involved with an investigation. They might be partial towards that individual who is misbehaving. The camera is impartial to everyone and shows what actually happened.

    The problem is adults do not respect each other. Period. They teach kids to act in ways that automatically show disrespect to everyone and only focus on that individual and forget about all other people.

  48. cclngthr says:


    I think what you need to do is look at educational law and see what schools have become and their “intended” purpose. Seat time is the standard of making sure kids have an education. No accountability in actual grades is mandated by law.

    You also have to remember that educational law also guarantees SPED services and related services. Before PL 94-142 was enacted in 1975, 1 in 5 disabled students were offered an appropriate and equal education. Many states before that time even had laws that excluded disabled kids from even receiving an education.

    You speak of excluding kids from an education by their behavior. The US Supreme Court and Congress used the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment to see that these kids are in school.

    The cameras are a tool that identifies problems in an impartial way so we adults can deal with the behavior without completely excluding the kid from school; something they are guaranteed to by the constitution.

  49. LornaDoone says:

    “Please read the article about John Kitna’s challenge in today’s paper.”

    If you want Kitna’s challenge, there are religious schools available

  50. RLangdon says:

    commoncents, ummm! When are you going to START using some COMMON SENSE? One of the other 20 or 30 students may support the teachers viewpoint. Then one of the other students supports the bad students view. Then it’s just a matter of opinions and no proof.

    COMMON SENSE says that if the incident is recorded on video then there is evidence which constitutes proof, which enable corrective action i.e.. punishment.

    It’s just COMMON SENSE commoncents. Can’t you see that?

  51. Dave98373 says:

    With the state and school districts strapped for cash and are doing layoffs everywhere they can to save money, who is going to pay for all theses cameras and the maintenance of the system? I halfway decent video surveillance and managing network system does not come cheap. Mulitple that times the number of schools in this state and we are talking millions easy. It’s not going to happen. I await your next letter Lyle.

  52. cclngthr says:


    In my classroom before I started using the camera, students opinions varied so much that I felt it was difficult to get the right answer. What I actually found after I started using the camera, that there was kids who were “popular” who were considered good kids doing things to kids who were unpopular and had more difficulties in class. Without the camera in place, the unpopular and more difficult kids were usually thought of as troublemakers. The camera proved it to be the opposite. I don’t want rely on students to figure out who did what because the kids have a skewed view of things that show biases against things.

    Cameras are unbiased and don’t care about anything. They show actual activities and proce beyond a reasonable doubt of who did what when.


    Cameras costs are not that expensive. Less than $100 for a camera, and software to use it and it is networkable where the existing internet connections can be used to run the camera system. A principal can log on his/her computer and pull up any camera in any classroom at any time, or pull footage from anywhere there is a camera to identify problems or evaluate someone.

    About 17 years ago, I was observed through the intercom system at Fawcett ES, where the office staff turned on the classroom intercom to hear what I and the students were doing. Same procedure with the camera, but the office would be able to see what is going on.

    Schools already have 80% of the hardware already in the schools to use the cameras. All they need is the camera itself.

  53. TOOCAN says:

    This ideal has my vote except, I want even to include the school library it would have shown my son wasn’t lying when he said he turned in a book that the librarian found later. Also if there’s ever a time my son is not doing his work or he sleeping or acting up then there’s no denying it because it’s all on tape… Also the buses should have cameras and mikes running down the entire bus this would help with bulling. Camera might have prevented the BS this girl went through when I was in Jr high in the 70’s thing were so bad and the school didn’t do sh@t. The girl had to bring her bullies to court.

  54. kluwer says:

    kluwer’s comment is consistant with those who feel parents should be those who parent exactly like a wealthy person would. They typically are white, married, have full time jobs that have benefits, have college degrees, own their homes, have newer model vehicles and are able to afford many things that I would consider a luxury item. They also do not meet the financial requirements for free/reduced lunch as well.

    He probably thinks society should limit the ability to be parents to that particular group which has the attributes that I described.

    Please stop trying to put words or meaning into my posts, you are no good at it.
    If you have something to say then stand on you own two feet and say it.
    Don’t ride the coat tails of others to force your twisted message.

  55. RLangdon says:

    cc, Your real life observation of cameras in the classroom is exactly what I have been trying to get commoncents to use his COMMON SENSE and realize to be logical. Cameras do not lie. The proof on video tells the true story. That way the system can be really improved, by unbiased observation.

    Thank you!!!

  56. cclngthr says:


    I think you do believe that school only should be available for a particular group of people based on what you have stated.

    I don’t believe SPED kids should be separated because they would not get an education as what was the case in the past. I also was denied an appropriate education just because I have a disability. Before 1975, SPED was optional, and in 4/5ths of the SPED population, they were not assigned to a class that fully met their needs. Now they are, to a point. A lot of parents sue the school district because the schools still refuse to educate the disabled child appropriately and to the LRE.

    Kids who appear to have problems are also at risk of denial to an education. They are often thought of as trouble and are punished excessively and this removes them from that education process. Teachers have to deal with family and outside problems; but thanks to the boundary invasion policies, we are forced into a situation where we cannot even allow it to be brought up.

    Little that you know that as adults, all people, rich, poor, troubled, disabled, are expected by society to be self sufficient and get jobs, and be on their own. They don’t qualify for, or have programs for adults with issues as they do for kids.

    What usually ends up happening when we arbitrarily deny education services to particular people is we have a lifelong problem of people ending up in jails, and other institutions because we did not educate these people correctly the first time when they were kids.

  57. LornaDoone says:

    I’d like to see the ACTUAL cost before accepting that “it won’t cost that much”.

    Isn’t it interesting that so many have a personal dog in the fight? “My child was beat up”

  58. cclngthr says:


    Showing the brats who were the GOOD KIDS, and the other, BAD KIDS as the target, I was not surprised at this because I have seen it, all I needed was the proof. The camera put me in a position of unbiased authority and when I showed the parents and staff (I kept copies of the original files) of misdeeds, they tried to deny it, but cameras do not lie at all.

    Commonsense and other people, who claim they have good kids don’t want to be put in a position where it is their kid who is the one who starts the problem. They want to get rid of the BAD KIDS because they feel they should automatically be denied an education and must be put away for good.

  59. “I think you do believe that school only should be available for a particular group of people based on what you have stated.”

    I’ve made two statements and you think you’ve got me all figured out?
    As I said before stop trying to use me and other to put out your twisted, warped ideas and agenda.
    You clearly have not spent 2 seconds ‘thinking’ about my posts you simply use them and others to continue your screed.
    You know nothing about my ‘beliefs’ and how I feel.
    I will ask you again to stop putting words into my mouth.

  60. cclngthr says:

    I paid about $85 for the camera that has an audio capability, wich is a tiny spy camera. They now range in price of $150-299 for a wifi capable motion sensing with audio capability.

    The cameras can be integrated into smoke detectors, pens, etc.

    The cheaper cameras don’t have audio, but I recommend using one that is audio capable.

  61. Teachers, only work a few hours a year, union protected, non scientific, mostly female, get degrees from second rate universities. Refuse to be assessed or graded for performance. Always want more money for less work. Demand unpaid volunteers do their dirty work for them.

    Yep, they’re the Democratic core.

  62. cclngthr says:

    I don’t think Pacific Lutheran University or University of WA as second rate universities, Each school offering an education degree must be accredited by OSPI and the state to provide such program.

    I got my degree from PLU, which has a reputation of being a highly regarded school, not only in education, but also in many other business fields.

  63. You know, since they started putting cameras in school busses, the kids have become so well behaved that one never sees or hears of kids (or drivers) misbehaving on the buses.

  64. cclngthr says:

    It took a couple months of me using the camera to see a big difference in classroom behavior. Outside of my class, big problem.

    Of course there still are people, both staff and students who do misbehave, but the camera generally gets it. However that being said, students WILL try to HIDE the misbehavior.

    The trouble with the bus cameras is they are usually placed up front, and the seats are high enough to block the cameras view in some cases. They also are not moved either. I prefer to actually move the camera location from time to time to create an unknown of where the camera is at.

  65. Dave98373 says:

    “Cameras costs are not that expensive” Evidence? Can you elaborate? You obviously have no clue or experience in this field. To suggest this as an alternative without you providing any facts is reckless on your part and deceptive.

  66. Wow, what a bunch of Nazis. If you all, including Mr. Laws, would expend all the energy you waste debating such a stupid, invasive, unconstitutional issue, preaching the value of education and changing the mindset of so many adults who don’t understand that education is a privilege, not a punishment, this issue would not even come up. I think I’m reading George Orwell or Lawrence Saunders instead of my neighbors. By the way, I believe ALL students should get FREE lunch, and breakfast too, just like in Norway. A well fed child has a working mind and a good disposition. You might also spend time as a volunteer in a school, at the Boys and Girls Club, being a Boy or Girl Scout leader, volunteer as a tutor, read at the library, chaperone field trips (and support the concept vs. seat time), the kids, the schools, and the teachers would all benefit.

  67. commoncents says:

    cc – no I don’t claim my kid is a good kid. His teachers, the principal, the librarian, the yard duties all tell me that he’s a good kid. See, that’s how I work…Either my wife or I actually go into the school and talk to these people.

    As for getting rid of the bad kids and denying them the education that they deserve? Isn’t that exactly what you are trying to do with these cameras? Get the bad kids out of the classroom? All along you espouse the need for teachers to connect with their students and teach to their needs etc etc etc. Now we find out that you have a camera in the class and you use oppression to get them to behave and learn. Nice…I said this once long ago and it still stands today – I’m glad you are not teaching my child.

  68. cadana1961 says:

    Cameras in the classroom? Hallways? Cafeteria? Really??? What a remarkably ludicrous suggestion ….

  69. Olemag, I do volunteer, and I support placing cameras in the classroom.

  70. Coach81 says:

    While I respect the opinion of the bloggers who support cameras in the classroom/hallway/etc., I completely disagree.

    I am a young(ish) teacher. I have dealt with kids with behavior issues, SPED, highly capable, all of it. Early each semester, there will be 1-2 students per class that want to act up and not follow the classroom or school rules. Students get one warning, and then they are subject to the consequences (removed from class, detention, suspension, etc.). If all teachers and administrators would actually enforce the rules, instead of providing 473 ‘second-chances’ to students, behavior would be modified much faster and with greater overall results. Weak teachers, weak administrators, and weak parents are the problem.

    The problem with cameras in the classroom is that parents and administrators need to be willing to actually do something about any issues that arise. Most will not, or at best they will give the student a slap on the wrist. Babying and coddling students is NOT the answer. Students need to understand that there are consequences, both good and bad, for their actions. That is how the ‘real’ world works, and as educators we are (allegedly) preparing them for the world after high school.

    The cost to install the hardware and software for this idea would be staggering. Where is that money going to come from? Another bond?

  71. cclngthr says:


    I use the camera to control and manage behavior. With little to no administrative support I want to determine exactly who starts what so I can stop it, and if it is your kid, I’ll call you and your kid on that behavior. Sometimes that also requires parents to meet with me on behavior and if it does not stop, there are other options available; such as requiring parents to sit with their kid or transferring the kid to a more restrictive environment where that kids needs are met (such as moving the kid to a school like Park Ave Center where there is an extensive BD program).

    The camera is also used as documentation of what goes on in class; which is used for discipline or grading. I often pull up videos and grade kids on behavior, participation in class and class conduct. Sometimes this lowers (or raises) their overall grade point average based on what I see.

    Legally, I cannot deny kids an education by removing them from class, but I can control what they do in my class, and I’m fairly strict on behavior because I don’t have the time to deal with misbehavior and also meet the strict schedule and deadlines that the state sets for schools. I don’t necessarily have administrative support into what I require students to do in my class, and I’m basically on my own 95% of the time.

    The camera is also very useful in student/teacher safety. I have been in positions where teachers have been accused of misconduct and the camera is used to keep that from happening. It is a trust issue as well. Teachers no longer are trusted by administration and parents because of the dramatic increase of teacher misconduct happening. Over the past 7 years, I have seen policies being put in place and attitudes by other staff particularly the administration have this issue where they don’t want teachers to use their best judgements in dealing with students; particularly with issues that occur outside of the school that students bring to school with them.

  72. spotted1 says:

    ccl, the bus cameras, in newer busses, are in the front, back and point down the bus steps. They are high quality and catch most things, but not all misbehavior.

    They are extremely useful when kids say “I didn’t do that”. Parents can’t argue with a high quality video of their kid misbehaving.

  73. cclngthr says:


    I bet 95% of the time, you are left alone where discipline is concerned. Administrators don’t want to call parents and require proper behavior because of the threat of lawsuits.

    Schools also are under the gun to maintain this schedule of deadlines which is very intense and no time can be made to deal with imperfect situations. If kids were perfect in every way, maybe the schedule of events would be met, but people are not, they bring in other issues that must be dealt with.

    While I agree with you, kids are coddled to death, I think people have to understand (including adults) that certain behaviors are not wanted or even desired.

    I would like to run my classroom like my father ran the household. Any visitor (including within the family) was expected to follow his household law. He demanded parents to control their kid, and if they refused or didn’t, HE WOULD. He would use a thick paddle on the kid, and also on the parents. Same with us.

  74. lylelaws says:


    I don’t know what it would cost to install security camers in classrooms, but I have make a couple calls to security companies to find out and will post the information when I receive it.

    I also looked up the public record to find what the total cost per student in Washington State is, and in 2009 it was over $16,000, and since as far as I know most public school busses have security cameras, I have to believe that the cost would not be staggering as you seem to suggest.

  75. igotdabombfool says:

    Funny….same arguments for red light cameras….same people….different side of the argument.

  76. commoncents says:

    cc – please know that I’m not accusing you of this in any manner…but if a teacher is using the camera and has access to the footage then how do we as parents know that it’s not being used inappropriately?

    The answer is that of course there are some people out there that would and likely are doing exactly that. However, in all reality there are only some kids that would be caught by such a system that wouldn’t have otherwise been caught by a camera.

    And I say this as a spouse of a teacher who has been a victim of theft in the classroom. While it would have been nice to have to catch the thief…it’s not worth the emotional and physical costs.

  77. cclngthr says:


    While I had access to the video footage, and use it to control/monitor student behavior, if the camera was networked into the schoolwide system, that parent can go to the office to view the footage. Another way is if it were networked, parents could stream the video at home or at work.

    As with my letter on the subject, there is a problem of staff misconduct which was captured on an audio devise a parent used in New Jersey. Here, a parent used the devise to monitor what was going on in that room and the footage captured staff abusing/bullying a student. It might seem there is a bias of who controls it; but there are ways to avoid that bias by having the footage networked and ability to stream live on a secured server.

    I have had parents who wanted me to focus on their kid, but I said I cannot do that due to the suggestion of my attorney.

    As far as the theft, if the camera was strategically placed, it would be able to capture the person walking into the room and removing whatever they took.

  78. marandamarvin says:

    Hi! We created a petition for the installation of cameras in all special needs classrooms. We are trying to collect thousands of signatures, and we could really use your help.

    To read more about what we’re trying to do and to sign the petition, click here:

    It’ll just take a minute! Please send this petition to all your friends, associates, and interested professionals. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word! Thank you!

  79. joyfulmom2009 says:

    Why are we so weary of Big Brother? Everywhere we go there are cameras, supermarkets, parking lots, departments stores, a lot of people of phones or cameras that have video on them and we have no idea if or when we are being video taped. Our children go to school to learn yet so many other things occur, drugs, bullying, bad teaching, goofying around, etc. I have a 3 year old who will be going to school soon and I want to see what is going on in her classroom. I want to see what she is doing or what might be done to her. I want to protect my child. I was the victim of bullying and sexual harassment in elementary and junior high and was too scared to ever do anything about it. Cameras might not stamp out the problem but in concert with concerned parents having access thru their computers, concerned school administrators and the law taking bullying, drugs, bad teaching, sexual harassment, seriously then school can become what it is intended to be a safe place where children go to learn!!!

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