It is not a secret that special needs children are often at a high risk for abuse in American schools.
It's great that more schools are opening their doors to disabled kids who in the past would not have been welcome. However this also creates a very vulnerable group of children in schools.
From intimidation by school yard bullies to teacher misconduct or abuse, there are plenty of stories of disabled students being harmed at school. Some groups think the solution to this problem is to put video cameras in the nation's classrooms.
According to experts at Autism File magazine, developmentally disabled students, who may be non-verbal or possess limited language skills, are being physically, verbally and/or sexually assaulted at school.
These experts believe that it is difficult to impossible to substantiate any claims of abuse or wrongdoing without specific proof. Unfortunately, this is especially true when a developmentally disabled child is involved.
In an emailed communication from Autism File, Polly Tommey, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine is quoted as saying, "In many cases, children with disabilities like autism can't articulate the problem. If they do speak up about the abuse, school administrators often dismiss the claim, insisting that the story is fabricated - a symptom of the child's autism or other disabilities."
To combat this issue, a growing number of parents and caregivers are crusading to put video cameras in classrooms to give a voice to this vulnerable group of children.
The hope is that these cameras would essentially ensure that kids are being treated well and fairly. The videos would speak up for the children even if they can not speak up for themselves.
It comes as no surprise that many teachers and school administrators are against having cameras in classrooms. Opponents cite privacy violations as their main concern, as well as civil liberties and the intrusion constant monitoring could impose.
But proponents of cameras in classrooms believe cameras would protect vulnerable children as much as they would protect teachers from false accusations. They also insist cameras would give both school administrators and parents physical proof about what is going on, or not going on, inside classrooms.
The debate rages on, and unfortunately the abuse continues. Hopefully this group of children will receive the protection, in one form or another, they so desperately need.