Photographing/Video recording Aggressive Students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by missrebecca, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2014

    I've seen this happen at 3 different schools -- teachers video recorded or took pictures of students being aggressive as a record to show parents, admin, or those involved in the behavior problem. I was told to do it with a student who had aggressive, violent behavior every day.

    At my current school, a coworker is trying to get help with a student who is violent toward others, but admin has not been helping (they don't seem to believe it's that bad). I asked her if she recorded the behavior or took pictures, and other teachers present said that was not allowed.

    My question is... what do YOU think is okay? What does your school allow? I see why you might need evidence to prove a student is behaving in a certain way (often, they only do it when administration or parents are gone), but I also understand privacy.

    If you went to an administrator and said you had recorded/photographed a violent behavior, but would delete it if they didn't want to see it... would that be an issue?
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2014

    We have video surveillance in all common areas-honestly I don't see the difference between an admin reviewing that video (which I know they've done in certain circumstances) and them viewing a video you took. I think that's very different than posting it online, etc.

    I did had a student once whose mother just refused to believe the behavior I was seeing every day and asked her if she wanted me to videotape him and show that to her and I got a very nasty e-mail saying that I better not ever do that. I really don't think she wanted to believe what I was saying was true about her son and that would be proof.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2014

    I wouldn't videotape a student for behavior reasons unless you had administration approval first.
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2014

    Def. ask your admin before you do anything.

    We have video cameras in our classrooms (unless a teacher opted out, but I have it in mine), it doesn't record audio, just video.
    My P has all the cameras on her screen, in a split screen so she can watch it, and at times, she does. It is also saved for 7 days.

    Once I asked her if we could have a parent of a troubled student watch it, so they know what he actually does in the classroom, but she said things could be taken out of context. For example, I can stand, and gesture with my arms (which I do a lot, she said that's how she knows I'm explaining things), and there could be a kid standing in front of me for some reason. That could be looked at as arguing, and being aggressive either from my end, or their end.

    Video taping done by the teacher would probably violate their privacy. We have signs up in the classroom so they know they're being taped.
     
  6. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Oct 11, 2014

    You are absolutely putting your career in jeopardy if you do not have admin approval for videotapping/recording students. Without that approval, you alone are responsible for every student's privacy who you record and are subject to litigation from every parent whose child you record without their consent. Should something untoward occur without having admin backing, you'll be fired and left to dangle. And yes, it could get that bad.

    I have a friend who made this poor decision. To compound the problem, she also maintained the recordings, captured by a webcam, on a server outside the district network and it was hacked. She wasn't sued but she did lose her job and her license.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2014

    I agree.
     
  8. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Oct 12, 2014

    I'm assuming you would need permission from the parent. In the past I have take pictures of the aftermath of a child's destruction without the child or any children in the picture. That might be an idea too, I don't see any need for permission for that.
     
  9. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Oct 12, 2014

    We are allowed to record as long as the parents have filled out a media release form. I have recorded students in common areas and the classroom to show parents what they're children are doing. Sometimes it's the only way to get through to parents that are in denial.
     
  10. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Sidetrack, but are teachers who opt out treated differently by admin? I would have a huge issue with being filmed like that, especially during my planning periods.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Our kids can also be recorded if their parents signed a release.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't think so. I have the cameras recording, but I think at least one teacher opted out, because my P says "most classrooms have cameras recording" whenever this comes up.

    She's a very fair and pretty awesome principal, and I can't imagine her treating someone differently just by exercising their right.

    I don't mind filming me whenever I'm in my classroom. Students often ask me if they could come inside my classroom for water during lunch (mine is cooled, the other classrooms' are not). As soon as we enter, I turn the lights on, stay by the door and wait. We're alone in the classroom, but if anything ever comes up, it's all recorded and no one can make accusations.
    I don't care if she watches me during my planning or after school - I'm doing school related stuff, nothing else.
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Linguist's situation is a little different too.
     
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Oct 12, 2014

    What about when I video my students walking in line so we can review it later to see how they are supposed to walk in line? Or other videos we make in class for "internal use only" of presentations, games, etc. I have tons of these. I often share them with my admins.

    I actually scoured the California Education Code and couldn't find anything that forbid teachers from photographing or videotaping students.

    It's what the video is used for that matters. A friend of mine set up a camera on a tripod in the back of his room. In plain sight. He told the kids it was for the purpose of catching them if they were texting on their phones while he was teaching. It was very effective at getting the kids to keep their phones put away. He got a verbal warning.

    So he took the tape out and left the camera there so the kids thought he was still taping them. The kids continued to not use their phones in class. The teacher got a written warning.

    What admin was really trying to do was build a case that he had no classroom management. The kids were using their phones in all their classes. He figured out a way to be the one teacher were kids didn't use their phones. The admin didn't like that, so they took away the one tool he had that worked.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with getting a camera out and letting kids know they are being recorded if the goal is to immediately change their behavior. I've heard of teachers who used a camera for that exact purpose. As an altercation would start to escalate, they would get out a camera and make it known kids were being recorded. Almost always, the kids would back down when they saw the camera. I do not think very many parents would complain about a school using video in such a manner.

    If there are laws preventing teachers from videotaping students, I think the intent was to prevent teachers and schools from using video to catch kids after the fact. So if you get out the camera not for the purpose of stopping the fight, but for the purpose of nailing the kids who started and participated in it, then it might be violating the spirit of the law.

    If there are any actual laws about teachers videotaping students, the following example is probably the reason why. And sadly, this has probably been done far too many times. A teacher believes that a student is stealing property in the classroom. The teacher either doesn't know who it is or thinks they know but can't prove it. So they leave money out on their desk and set up a camera to catch the kid who comes up and takes the money.
     
  15. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Oct 12, 2014

    Do you think good intentions will stop a lawyer from taking a parent's case and filing suit? All it takes is one questionable instance, money, and the will to pursue it. I understand what you're saying but I wouldn't think of intent as a shield. It would be more akin to Russian roulette.
     
  16. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Oct 12, 2014

    It really all depends on the district/school. In my district, the right to film is in our student conduct books. It gives permission for photos/videos to be taken for any educational purpose and that they can be used within the school or district for those purposes. Anything that goes out of the school would require a separate form, but situations like Sarge described would be allowed. It's often encouraged that struggling teachers film their classes to review their actions. Photos/videos of students are shared on the district's website/facebook page often. Parents have to sign a specific denial form to keep their children from ever being filmed.

    When I filmed my classes for my university or my drama students for a website, I had to have special forms, but in-house for educational purposes, we're covered.
     
  17. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Oct 13, 2014

    In order to bring a suit, there has to be some kind of actual damage. In every case I was able to find where it became an issue, the video was used in some way as an official part of the student's record. I do not use the videos for anything other than to share with the students in my own class and their parents for educational and entertainment purposes only.
     
  18. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Sounds all very reasonable. Realize, I'm not arguing against you, I'm just pointing out that 'reasonable' isn't always the case. A suit can be filed without any substance. Frivolous law suits happen all the time and in your case it seems you have the backing of your administration officially so you need not worry so much. Whatever the theoretical situation for you, your district would likely throw their lawyers at it and you'd be protected from costs or sanctions unless, theoretically, something untoward was the case.

    The OP, seemingly, wanted to know what to do about recording. Going on your own without Admin support is a bad idea and having admin support is the optimal situation. And just because your situation is all dressed up with ribbons and bows doesn't mean a lawyer can't unwrapped the present. Doesn't it also seem reasonable to maintain some caution while recording students? I know that for National Boards, there is a film component or at least there was.

    To me, filming for instructional purposes or reflective purposes is one thing but trying to catch students in a 'Sting' is a whole different thing. While the first might be less problematic, you're still on the hook even for inadvertent things. That's something I learned early on, when speaking to someone I respected. I voiced an opinion that seemed innocuous to me, what harm could it cause. They were offended by the opinion, completely out of my control. I meant no offense or disrespect but still had to eat crow with profuse apologies. All I'm saying is be cautious because you never know.
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 13, 2014

    I agree with this as well.
     
  20. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Oct 14, 2014

    I videotape students for assessments all the time. I have had student behavior inadvertently occur in the background and have used that as evidence to show to the parents/admin. My students also create films as part of their assignments for my class. All parents have signed waivers and the school handbook has a section that allows video recording for educational purposes.

    I'm not sure if I agree with using a videocamera as a behavior management tool, but it can be useful as a documentation tool. It's always best to get permission from admin and parents first.
     
  21. Texastoyz

    Texastoyz Rookie

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    What does your friend do now?
     

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