ARLINGTON -- School trustees approved a student code of conduct Thursday night after hearing a spokesman for teachers raise questions about the interpretation of a passage aimed at enforcing student discipline.
Teachers are allowed to record video or audio of unruly students in common areas of the school for the purpose of enforcing discipline, according to state education code.
"The argument comes down to what is a common area," said Larry Shaw, president of the United Educators Association. "They're saying a classroom is not a common area. We say it is a common area."
Shaw said there is no expectation of privacy in a classroom, which should be considered as common an area in a school as a hallway or the cafeteria.
Shaw spoke to the board during open forum time, when trustees are prohibited from answering or engaging in discussion.
The part of the code of conduct referenced Thursday night reads: "A District employee may, without consent of a child's parent, make a videotape or recording of the child if the videotape or recording is to be used only for the purposes of safety, including the maintenance of order and discipline in common areas of the school or on school buses."
The passage is based on the state education code.
"It's not a privacy issue because the teacher isn't going to put it up on YouTube," Shaw said. "The teacher is going to use it to share with parents, administrators, for purposes of enforcing discipline.
"What we're asking the school district to do is tell us what we can do instead of what we can't do."
Shaw said that police officers can use cameras to help enforce the law, and that teachers want to do the same.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657