Keller mom wins battle for cameras in special ed classes

A Keller mother says her special needs son was mistreated inside a Keller classroom. She sued the school district and won.

Bregett Rideau has also launched a personal mission to change laws in Texas to require cameras in certain classrooms if parents request them.

After fighting nearly a decade to get cameras in her son's special education classroom, Rideau felt as though she crossed the finish line when she saw a photo of a surveillance camera mounted on the ceiling in her son Terrance's class at Keller High school.

Rideau says the camera, installed just in the last two weeks, would have prevented the abuse she claims Terrance endured from a Keller Middle School special ed teacher back in 2010.

Keller ISD and CPS investigated but the questionable teacher was never prosecuted.

“I asked them for the cameras. They said no, it's against the law,” she said. “So I had to go change the law. Had to go fight."

Rideau fought for a law forcing districts to install the cameras and won. Senate Bill 507 was signed into law last year.

The law requires at least one camera and recording equipment for each classroom. In order to get them installed, a parent of a special needs student needs to make a request to the district.

Just in the last two months, Keller ISD spent $10,000 on two cameras to be installed.

The district has proposed $100,000 in the next budget cycle to fund additional cameras if needed.

FOX 4 asked repeatedly if we could shoot video or get our own pictures of the cameras and recording equipment the district purchased. We were told no.

Some of the larger districts in North Texas are already responding to the new law.

Dallas ISD hasn't installed any cameras yet but is drafting policies and procedures in case it needs to.

Arlington ISD, which fought the law because it was an unfunded mandate, has not had any requests for the cameras and would only look for the funding if it got a request.

Fort Worth ISD has had two parental requests for cameras. Its budget for any future requests is $300,000 and it too is crafting policy to implement the new law.

Rideau says Terrance and kids like him all over the state are the real winners here.

My child gets to be in the classroom under the camera. That's the icing on the cake,” she said. “Hallelujah! I get to see it. I got to the promised land."

According to the law, the cameras must record audio as well as video. Parents and staff must be notified when a camera is installed.

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