Florida Republicans want to force teachers to wear mics so parents can monitor classroom

A teachers union is warning the move could discourage individuals from entering the profession in the future

Tom Fenton
Friday 14 January 2022 18:37
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Republican state legislators in Florida are considering a bill that would mandate school teachers to wear microphones in classes, chiefly so that parents can monitor what their children are being taught.

The legislation is being pitched by Florida State Representative Bob Rommel, who says that his personal belief is that teachers can be monitored constantly without any infringements on privacy, CBS News reports.

“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,” Rep Rommel claimed. “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.”

However, Anna Fusco, the Broward Teachers Union President, explained her grave reservations over the bill to CBS . According to Ms Fusco, it could discourage some people from entering the profession for fears of being called out and criticised publicly by parents.

“You want to play Big Brother every moment?” she asked.

“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.”

She adds that it isn't necessary to video monitor educators at work.

“It’s not in every classroom. Not every parent has exercised that right. We have parents that don’t want that. It’s kind of two-fold.

“If one parent wants it, the camera goes in the room. If the other 10 parents don’t want it, they don’t have a say,” she said.

As the Broward County Public Schools website states, under Florida state law, some parents are already able to request that a camera be put in place in a classroom.

Florida House Bill 149, which was passed in July last year, means that a parent can request it if their child has a disability and is in an individualised programme in which the majority of the students also have a disability.

The move comes as teaching increasingly gets caught up in the culture wars, with conservatives across the country complaining that children are being taught “critical race theory”. This has led to moves to remove books by some Black authors – unconnected to CRT – such as Beloved by the Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.

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