October 24, 2019- Joplin, Missouri
Timothy Intessimone presented proposed legislation last month to a Missouri State Senator, this proposed bill would create legislation "To amend chapter 162, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section requiring the use of camera monitoring systems in special education classrooms." This addition would add section 162.725 to Missouri's Revised Statutes and require public school systems in the State to add audio and video recording to special education classrooms, which could be accessed in the event of some type of accident or event.
While the office cannot take full credit for the drafting of this proposed Senate Bill, the proposal has been submitted by various other Missouri law makers in the past, however each time it has been presented the proposed bill has fallen short due to financial concerns.
In discussing this proposal and the changes submitted in their proposal Timothy Intessimone stated that, "What we have done is built upon older proposals that were not brought to a vote for one reason or another. The most common reason I found that this type of legislation has not been successful in the past is due to budget concerns. Previous proposals I had reviewed had provisions regarding the funding of such project by either donation or general state funding. What our proposal has presented is the idea that the State Treasury create a fund, known simply as the Special Education Classroom Camera Fund. The fund would be included as part of the State budget and provide only for cost of the installation and upkeep of such equipment." Intessimone went on to note that, "What I have found, is that the cost of such equipment would be relatively inexpensive, even for smaller school districts. Schools are currently able to record activity in other areas, including in transporting students to school, so this system would integrate with what districts are already using. The system would only be in certain rooms, where the purpose of the classroom is solely for the education of special needs students. Many other states, including Texas, Georgia, and West Virginia have enacted similar legislation and had great success."
In drafting this proposal we believe that we can do our part to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society and a proposal such as this protects educators and paraprofessionals from false allegations, so it really is a win-win for everyone involved. It is our duty to protect children with disabilities, some of whom cannot even speak for themselves. From looking at some major news stories over the past five years we see that there is a trend, where predators actually seek out these students because of their vulnerability.
We recognize that this is just a proposal and hat it is in no way affiliated with any certain member of Missouri's legislature, this is simply our proposal to hopefully lay the groundwork for others in the State legislature to take this idea and implement some type of law during the next legislative session.