A few weeks back, we highlighted a story about a very tense situation at Cascade High School in Everett, Wash., where teachers were raising concerns that district administrators had planted a surveillance camera in the classroom of a teacher who was later fired, allegedly for helping students publish an underground newspaper. At the time, an attorney for the district denied the allegations.
Now, however, the district has publicly acknowledged that it did, in fact, use a video camera to secretly monitor journalism teacher Kay Powers’ classroom. District officials say they do not believe the practice was unlawful and that they were primarily trying to protect students. The whereabouts of the video are reportedly not known.
The local teachers union, which has expressed outrage at the districts actions, plans to file a complaint that the district violated employees’ rights and fair labor practices.
Ed. note: A reader who has taught in Everett first tipped us off to the new developments and offered a personal reaction:
As a former substitute teacher for the Everett School District, and a three-time guest teacher in Kay Powers' classroom, this coming-to-light of the district's intrusion into the privacy of not only Kay Powers, but her students (and potentially myself) is unconscionable. And that the district is now framing this argument under the rubric of the students' personal safety is reprehensible and legal posturing. How is spying on Ms. Powers and her students ensuring their safety?Ensure this tactic is met with the utmost in logical resistance.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.