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Teacher Group Slams Princeton ISD's Recording Policy

District's policy allows students to record classroom lectures for educational purposes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Princeton Independent School District has a new policy that lets students use their cell phones to record teachers in the classroom. (Published Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012)

    A teacher group is criticizing a Princeton school district policy that allows students to record their classes with cellphones.

    Princeton Independent School District administrators say the policy is meant to get include technology in the classroom without straining the small district's limited budget.

    The Bring Your Own Technology police allows students to use individual recording devices to record classroom lectures.

    "The handbook clearly says that it has to be for educational purposes and it can only be used after you notify the teacher if you're going to make a recording," Superintendent Philip Anthony said.

    A teacher must allow the student to record if he or she is using the material for "educational purposes," as written in the district's manual.

    "What they don't have the right to do is, if a student wants to tape a lecture for a friend that is absent or for someone else, is to say no," Anthony said.

    "This will almost certainly have a negative impact on student learning," the Association of Texas Professional Educators said in a statement.

    The ATPE said it feels the policy will bring more distractions to the classroom than anything else.

    But district administrators have a different view.

    "We believe the potential good outweighs the negative," Anthony said.

    Some students agreed, saying that recording lectures would enhance their ability to study.

    "If you miss something, you can go back and reread or rewatch it 10 or 20 times until you understand something," senior Nicholas Vandagriff said.

    The district said it intends to treat employees fairly, but teachers groups said the policy could bring expensive litigation to the district.

    Anthony said he believes policy is about the benefit to students, not an individual teacher's right to refuse to be recorded.

    "Truthfully, it's not about the teachers, it's about the students," he said. "That's why I wouldn't give the teachers' individual rights."