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KCK Public Schools begins forums on proposal for cameras in classrooms

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Posted at 8:42 AM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 12:52:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Tonight, teachers and other staff members of Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools will be able to provide feedback on a proposal from the district to install cameras in classrooms.

The school board first reviewed a $6.8 million proposal in October. It called for installing about 1,600 cameras in the classrooms of schools throughout the district. Before making a final decision on whether to move forward with the proposal, the district promised to gather feedback. Here are the details on the forums:

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022:

  • 4 to 6 p.m.
  • District headquarters, 2010 North 59th St.
  • Meeting for staff members only

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022:

  • 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • District headquarters, 2010 North 59th St.
  • Meeting is open to the public

Saturday, Dec.17, 2022:

  • 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Virtual meeting, more details to come
  • Meeting is open to the public

The district’s proposal says cameras will allow teachers to stream or record their lessons, giving students across the district equal access to high-quality instruction. Due to a nationwide teacher shortage, the district has relied on long-term substitute teachers in many cases.

Recording lessons will also allow students to keep up with work when they’re absent and give teachers an opportunity to review their work.

The summary from October’s board meeting does not mention the words “safety” or “security” as reasons to install cameras, but when KSHB 41 News spoke with parents of students, they immediately thought of security as a reason for cameras in classrooms. They also brought up invasion of privacy concerns.

“I think there is a very fine line of invasion of privacy, but at the same time security protection for the children. So long as there is some sort of structure and program system put in properly, all parents can meet in the middle,” said Antonio Taylor, father to a kindergarten student.

Another parent wondered how students may feel about the cameras.

“I would think there would be a little bit of a privacy issue and some of the kids may not be as comfortable with it,” added another kindergarten parent, Dan Thompson. “As far as security, I like that a lot.”

Independent facilitators will attend each forum. Participants will be able to learn more about the proposal, ask questions and submit feedback.