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Cameras could soon be in Washington County classrooms

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) -

In most schools, the only places without some kind of camera are the bathrooms and the classrooms.

But that may soon change.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently gave the Tennessee Department of Education a grant to buy cameras for classrooms for evaluation purposes.

Washington County took the state up on their offer to provide one camera for each school, but teachers and parents aren't convinced evaluation is all they'll be used for.

"They're concerned about where the tape might go and the fact that there's children in there and that the children's parents have not given permission to be on the camera," Leisa Lusk, president of the Washington County Education Association said.

Dr. Bill Flanary with the Washington County Department of Education said there's no need for permission if the tape is private.

"We get consent if these images are made public, these are never going to be made public," Flanary said. "The only reason the cameras are used ever are for teacher evaluations and the only people that ever see the videos that are made are the person doing the observation and that teacher. They're never released to the public, they're never put on a website, nobody with the state department of education ever sees a video."

Flanary said the point of the cameras is to help the teachers.

"They watch themselves, they evaluate themselves in the job they did, then they score themselves, how did I do according to the evaluation rubric," Flanary said.

He said then the evaluator and the teacher go over it together, then the video is deleted.

Leisa Lusk said she can see the positive in it.

"We can go back and look at our lessons and see what was really good, what worked well with the kids, what didn't work so well, and it be kind of a self assessment," Lusk said.

But she said there's still some uncertainty from teachers that the video will stop at two people.

The cameras have been delivered to Washington County, but right now the district is waiting to put them in use until the district's lawyers says they legally can put them in the classrooms.

Copyright 2014 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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