A parental movement has begun in Springfield, Mo., to push for teachers to become outfitted with bodycams after police officers have successfully worn them for the past decade as a way of ensuring students are safe and are not being taught harmful or divisive curriculum like critical race theory.
The idea was born just a few weeks ago during a meeting between conservative activists and parents who are dismayed at CRT being taught to children in public schools. But now, Just The News reports, the idea is beginning to spread to the state capital in Jefferson City, as some lawmakers have already expressed an interest in the concept.
“I think that COVID just opened the window to what was going on in the classroom,” Marilyn Quigley, a retired teacher who spent four decades in classrooms, told the outlet.
“And students were getting involved with parents, parents were trying to help students, and suddenly some of them said, ‘What are you being taught.’ And then all of this then came out,” she added.
“And we all of us began to learn some new terminology. And we have something here called critical race theory, that is now being just trying, you’re trying to shove it down the throats of the kids and not tell the parents,” Quigley continued.
As have other school districts, Springfield public schools have also been embroiled in controversy over the teaching of CRT materials and ideas. Parents have protested the curriculum inside and outside of school district board meetings, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
Two weeks ago, parents at a forum that was hosted by a conservative group called Back on Track America in the city discussed the concept of cameras that hone in only on teachers and their daily lesson plans while protecting student privacy. There will be more meetings this week to discuss the idea, Just The News added.
One key state senator has embraced the idea as the Missouri Legislature prepares to take up a bill that would ban teaching critical race theory to primary school children because it focuses on the notion that America is an inherently, systemically racist country.
“Maybe we need cameras in the classroom, recording what is happening,” state Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, a Republican from Shelbina and chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, told the News-Leader recently. “Teachers won’t like that, and I’m not just saying teachers who, you know, might be trying to deceive people but they are not going to want to feel like they’re being watched.”
O’Laughlin also told the paper that there are additional means of “monitoring what’s happening” inside classrooms to include sharing lesson plans on social media and electing more conscientious people to school boards who won’t simply sign off on whatever curriculum a school administrator pushes.
There are already cameras in some classrooms around the country but they are not universal, Just The News noted.
Since 2015, for instance, Georgia, Texas, and West Virginia have all passed laws allowing cameras “in specific classrooms, though that has been focused mostly on protecting vulnerable special education students,” the outlet said.
State lawmakers in Florida and Louisiana are also considering classroom cameras and teacher body cams, while some North Carolina parents have also launched a camera campaign as well.
In Missouri though, the focus is not just on student safety, but also harmful curriculum, Just The News reported, adding that some conservatives and teachers’ unions are pushing back on the idea.
Other notable conservatives aren’t buying the “surveillance state” argument and have instead focused on preventing what they see as harmful ideas and concepts from being pushed on vulnerable children.
“We need to fight back. Those are our children. That is the next generation,” talk show giant, Fox News host, and bestselling author Mark Levin argued recently. “You want them brainwashed, hating the country?”
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