BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Families of students with special needs hope to see a Senate bill pass that they say will keep their children safe.
“I don’t want to see what happened to us happen to them,” says parent Temisha Victorian.
She is one of many parents pushing for more protection for special needs students. “Abuse is going on. It’s being silenced because the children aren’t able to give their input. So families don’t have a seat at the table,” Victorian says.
She gave testimony in favor of Senate Bill 86, which would require cameras to be installed in self-contained special education classrooms upon parent requests.
“The bill will kind of give an opportunity for IEP (Independent Education Plan) teams, parents, advocates, and stakeholders, to really be able to collect data and see that those needs are being met,” says Victorian.
Senator Franklin Foil wrote the bill and says the bill will open the door for transparency and accountability between parents, teachers, and students.
“I was approached by several parents who had situations where their children were unfortunately abused in the classroom, and they felt like they had no remedy to get to the bottom of who was causing the abuse,” said Foil.
If the bill becomes law, parents would have to request cameras to be installed in their child’s classroom. “It gives them comfort because there, unfortunately, it’s not widespread, but there are some situations, and one situation is too many,” says Foil.
Senator Foil says the main roadblock he foresees is funding, but he does not want to pass the cost onto local schools. “The cost will be paid by the state… I think if it’s a state law, it should be the responsibility of the state to find the funding for the program,” says Foil.
Senate Bill 86 is set to go to the Senate floor for a vote, and families hope for action.
“Education delayed is education denied, and it’s time for people to be able to come together and make sure that stuff is happening,” says Victorian.