Florida Republican Bob Rommel Has Proposed That Surveillance Cameras and Microphones Are Installed in School Classrooms

Toby Hazlewood

Video surveillance to be implemented in Florida's schools?

Republican Representative Bob Rommel of Naples, Florida has filed a proposal that would allow the installation of video cameras and microphones in school classrooms around the state, under House Bill HB1055, it emerged this week. The bill received it's first reading in the state's legislative season, on January 11th.

The bill runs to 7-pages which mostly outline how cameras and microphones should be installed throughout all public schools. There are detailed proposals on how long the recordings should be retained.

It specifies that cameras should be positioned to capture all aspects of every school day, aside from recording in bathrooms and locker-rooms where pupils may be changing their clothes.

The introduction of such surveillance seems to contradict the ethos of 'Freedom Florida'. But there could be ulterior motives behind the proposal.

The bill intends to provide parents with the ability to review 'incidents' that occur within the classroom. There's a suspicion that such incidents could include where critical race theory is taught in school - something that Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to prevent as part of his Stop WOKE Act.

Rep Bob Rommel who introduced the bill is clearly against the teaching of critical race theory.

Preventing bullying (and teaching of CRT)

Speaking on the proposed bill, Rep. Rommel was clear that it wasn't just about what's taught in classrooms, but also about the welfare of students. Perhaps then, the monitoring of what's taught is just a useful second benefit as far as he's concerned?

"We know of incidents of bullying, we do know some parents have complained of children being indoctrinated into some hateful theories. Now they'll be a recording and whether it's the parent or teacher that thinks there's an incident will actually have proof." - Rep. Bob Rommel

An invasion of privacy?

Rep. Rommel has justified the installation of cameras by pointing out that police wear body-cams and video surveillance is all around us, but in spite of these justifications, many teachers are concerned.

Aside from the cost to wire up every public school with the cameras and microphones (which would presumably mean that money isn't available for other equipment), there's a fear that teachers will be discouraged from teaching if they feel their every word and move is under scrutiny and judgement.

Rep. Rommel points out that the classroom isn't just the domain of teachers and that it's also the kids who may benefit from the monitoring, but the effect is still the same. Classrooms are currently free of video monitoring and in the future, they may not be if HB1055 is approved in its current format.

What do you think about the introduction of video recording of classrooms in Florida's schools? Would you be willing to do your job under video surveillance at all times? Let me know in the comments section below.

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