January 31, 2022

Guest Blog: Cameras in Special Education Classrooms

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Abused and unable to tell your parents

Op Ed by Dustin Bane

Dustin is a father and advocate in Frederick, Maryland. Dustin is the father of a nonspeaking autistic child and a supporter of cameras in self-contained classrooms.

Imagine being unable to talk for a single day. Unable to express your needs. You can’t write or text.

Stop reading this and take 30 seconds to truly grasp how difficult and stressful it would be to go through a single day without any traditional means of communication.

Now imagine your parents dropping you off at school every day, and you’re being abused physically and verbally by the very people meant to teach you. You can’t tell your parents what is going on and they keep taking you there. You don’t have the same means of understanding, so you wonder why your parents would keep bringing you there to be abused? Why would they allow this to happen to you?

Can you imagine much worse trauma? I can’t.

Abuse like this is happening all over this country. It happened in Texas and our backyard in Jefferson, West Virginia. It likely happened at my son Ashton’s school right here in Frederick County, Maryland. I could find news stories in every state that share accounts of special needs children being abused.

A few years ago while my son attended Carroll Manor elementary school, we experienced several issues over a four month period. It culminated in my nonspeaking son coming home with an unexplained deep purple bruise bigger than my fist in the small of his back, along with matching bruises on both shoulders and shoulder blades.

I have no idea what happened to my son, which is why I lobby so hard for the cameras in the classroom.

The vast majority of special needs teachers and special education instructional aides (SEIA) are wonderful and kind hearted. They’re some of the best people, and I have the highest level of respect for them. Special needs teachers and SEIA’s dedicate their lives to the betterment of special needs children. They are often underpaid, underappreciated, and wildly undersupplied with funding and resources.

It is absolutely imperative that we stand up for these children and provide them the voice they don’t have to protect them from those that would seek to harm them.

It’s also imperative that we protect the teachers from false accusations that can arise from these same communication difficulties. Cameras in special needs classrooms will be the voice for children like my son Ashton to protect them from harm.

I should not have to live in fear of sending my child to a public school.

Cameras will also provide that protection for our amazing teachers and SEIA’s. Maryland House Bill 226 will do just this, and state legislators need to hear from you. Please consider reaching out to members of the Maryland General Assembly and asking them to support House Bill 226 to put cameras in our special needs classrooms to be the voice for our most vulnerable children and protect our dedicated special education teachers.

Call to action:
We’re asking parents of students with special needs to share their stories with us so that we can advocate to legislators for passage of this bill. Please email communications@oldlinelobbying.com or visit https://oldlinelobbying.com/contact-us/


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