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Parents Push For Cameras Inside Classrooms For Non-Verbal Students

BATESVILLE, Ark.-- A Batesville parent is pushing for a bill that would make sure students are protected at school, especially when they can't speak.

House Bill 1019 would provide protection for students and teachers in self contained classrooms where majority of students are non-verbal.

William Harrington found out his special needs son Hayden was assaulted at Sulphur Rock Elementary School two years ago. Harrington said if it wasn't for cameras inside the classroom, he would have never known about the incident.

Now, he's making sure his son and others have a voice when they can't speak for themselves.

"As a parent you feel so helpless," Harrington said.

"He's special. I thought it was going to be hard but it's not. He feels me full of joy all the time," Harrington said.

In September of 2017, Harrington said a classroom aide assaulted his then five-year old son at Sulphur Rock Elementary School in Independence County.

It was caught on camera.

"It was one of the worst days of my life to watch these (workers) put my son into a chair, that I had no idea about, then slap him and wish there was a muzzle and leave him in the chair for 15-18 minutes," Harrington said.

Harrington said he wasn't able to view the clip until the prosecuting attorney picked up the case a month after the incident happened.

"When you are dealing with kids with special needs you have to consider special accommodations, and special levels of protection," Shrader.

The family teamed up with Heather Sharader, an activist who fights for people and children with disabilities. They're pushing for a law that would allow parents to request camera in th school.

"So the purpose of the bill is to provide protection for students and teachers in self contained classrooms where majority of students are non-verbal," Shrader said.

"I know all the state representatives and the senators in the great state of Arkansas that this is the right thing to do. That could help so many that doesn't have a voice." Harrington said.

The classroom aide in the video resigned from the Batesville School District.

The bill will be presented to an education committee during the general assembly.

Harrington said his son now goes to a different school district.


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