Education leaders have said they are considering installing cameras in local classrooms.
This topic arose during questioning by West Bay North MLA Bernie Bush on Monday during Finance Committee as legislators reviewed 2020/2021 appropriations for the Education Ministry.
Bush queried whether any thought or research was being done to have extra eyes in the classroom “to protect ourselves and protect children”.
This, he said, given that “children are getting teachers in trouble and teachers are getting children in trouble”.
Bush added, “I know there is one particular incident where the police told me they knew that the kids had lied.”
He suggested that having cameras would be useful.
“When inspectors come, some of the performances you are seeing in the classroom is not what you seeing every day. If you had cameras in the classrooms, like I have seen it now where my granddaughter goes to school, I think it is a wonderful thing,” Bush said.
Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, after consulting with her staff in the Legislative Assembly chamber, confirmed the Department of Education Services was considering the placement of cameras in the classroom.
“But the consideration has not been concluded,” she told fellow lawmakers.
She said there were a number of issues to consider before such a step is taken.
“They have to look at the child welfare issues and the logistics of it to make a complete picture, to make sure there are no human rights infringements and that the welfare of the child is of paramount consideration. But they’re looking into it,” she said.
There have been incidents in classrooms over the years that have raised concerns within the community, from fights among students to allegations of assault on students and on teachers.
Last year, a teenager was arrested following an altercation at John Gray High School for assaulting a teacher. In 2017 a teacher pleaded guilty to assault after holding a student’s ears.
Back in 2016, a high school teacher charged with indecently assaulting three female students was found not guilty. The teacher had been accused of touching three female students inappropriately during a class session. The defendant, who cannot be named due to a court order, said the girls were making up the stories to get back at him for reprimanding them in class.