Trustees with the Carroll Independent School District approved a change to district policy Monday that prohibits employees from secretly recording video of meetings or work sessions.
During their regular board meeting Monday, trustees amended policy to require employees to notify those in attendance that they are being recorded. The policy does not require the employee to obtain consent to record, only to serve notice that recording was taking place.
"You can record, but you just have to tell us that you're recording," said Gordon Butler, assistant superintendent for staff and student services, during the board meeting. "You have to tell your audience, your teammates, that you are recording."
The policy change comes after an administrator was secretly recorded earlier this year advising teachers that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also offer students access to a book from an “opposing” perspective.
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Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, made the comment during a training session in October on which books teachers would be allowed to have in classroom libraries. That training came four days after the Carroll school board, responding to a parent’s complaint, voted to reprimand a fourth-grade teacher who had kept an anti-racism book in her classroom.
The district's superintendent, Lane Ledbetter, issued a statement apologizing for the incident saying, "The comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history," he said. "Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust."
The change in policy seems directed at preventing potentially embarrassing videos from being shared online or in the media.
"People have made recordings and taken them to the media. I don't want that to happen. And I want there to be a very clear understanding of what the consequences of that are," said Trustee Andrew Yeager during the board meeting. Yeager is a sales executive for NBCUniversal Local, the parent company of NBC 5.
If the policy is violated, Butler told the board that there is not a blanket consequence for violations and that each instance would be evaluated individually to consider an employee's track record and intention in recording the video. Butler hinted that secretly recorded videos shared with the media would be handled more severely.
"I think recording in secret and then going to the media, I feel safe to say that I think we're all in agreement that that's pretty egregious and so that would be handled one way vs recording and then saying I was just doing it for my own documentation," Butler said.
The policy change passed with a unanimous 7-0 vote.