In a move that sounds like it came directly from George Orwell’s dystopian novel of authoritarianism, 1984, Republicans in the state of Florida are now considering placing cameras in every classroom and making all teachers wear microphones so parents can monitor them anytime they wish.
CBS News reports that state Representative Bob Rommel, a Republican from Naples, is responsible for a bill that will soon be before the Florida legislature:
“I think if we can do it in a safe way to protect the privacy of students and teachers, I think we should do it,” he told CBS Miami. “I haven’t heard a response good or bad from any teachers, but … it’s not their private space. It’s our children’s space, too.”
Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco says the idea is not one that needs to be implemented:
“You want to play Big Brother every moment? That’s not how society should be. We need to get back to where we have trust, we have value, we have faith and we have conversations and we can work things out if something happens,”
Such a move could also discourage people from wanting to be teachers in the Sunshine State, critics warn.
Fusco also notes that parents in a handful of Broward County schools already have the ability to monitor classes, but the option is only available under certain circumstances:
According to the Broward County Public Schools website, parents of a student can request that a camera system with visual and audio capability be placed in a classroom if the student has a disability and is an individualized program in which the majority of students has a disability. That’s permitted under Florida House Bill 149, which was passed in July.
“Everything that happens in the classroom is monitored, watched and heard all day. There is absolutely zero privacy for anybody, even when … the teacher needs to do a parent-conference on the phone,” Fusco said.
Here’s more on the proposed legislation:
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