Iowa Bill Would Introduce Surveillance in Public Classrooms

Iowa Bill Would Introduce Surveillance in Public Classrooms

Sofia Bezila, Editor

Iowa recently introduced a new Bill to put cameras in public school classrooms. Worried about the controversy of critical race theory, lawmakers in Iowa decided that classroom surveillance of teachers will solve parents’ anxiety over what their kids are learning. Cameras would be put in every K-12 public classroom with the exception of physical education and special needs classes. Sponsored by Republican Norlin Mommsen, the bill specifically targets teachers who teach outside of the textbook and claims to be the solution to solving parents’ paranoia.

According to the official Iowa Legislature Billbook, “This bill relates to parental access to live video feeds of public school district classrooms and provides for penalties”. Basically, parents or guardians can access cameras on a specific site that presents a live feed only. There is also strict punishment for teachers or superintendents that do not comply. If a teacher disrupts the streaming purposefully, they will receive a written warning.

A second offense equals a fine of 1% of the teacher’s salary while a third offense will equal 5% (equal to the employee’s weekly salary). School district superintendents would also face punishment. If they do not hold up to the standards emplaced by the state then they will lose 5% of their weekly salary every time one of their employees fails to comply with the mandate. 

According to The Insider, Mommsen told the publication: “Similar to a body camera on a policeman, a camera takes away the ‘he said, she said’ or ‘he said, he said,’ type argument and lets them know ‘hey, we are doing a good job.’’. Mommsen believes that classroom surveillance protects teachers and students by providing first-hand evidence in rare cases of conflict. Yet, what the cameras actually do is enforce a controlling watch over what students are being taught and specifically target teachers through punishment. 

Morally many would argue that putting surveillance cameras in classrooms is an invasion of privacy, but legally, states are allowed to implement that mandate as long as it is in public schools. Because public schools are government-funded, state and federal governments have control over the budget of schools, so it is within their power to pick and choose where the money goes.

Although Mommsen claims the cameras are for the protection of teachers and students, the surveillance is really for censoring education by taking away controversial topics that force students to think for themselves – – benefiting a specific political party.