WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Burlington Principals to Wear Body Cameras In School

Jun 3, 2015

The Burlington School District will require principals and assistant principals to wear body cameras when classes resume this fall. Superintendent Pat Coen said the idea came about following an incident during this past school year.

"One of our middle school principals had a parent accuse him of screaming and swearing and posturing up in an aggressive manner," said Coen. "We are able to look at the film from the school camera and we were able to see that that did not happen."

Coen said the district fully investigates each and every allegation and body cameras would help in that process. He decided to proceed after speaking with representatives of the Muscatine School District, which Coen said already has administrators wearing body cameras.

"They reported that it helps tremendously in dealing with angry parents," said Coen.  "Then when there is a debate on whether or not something was said or done, it is right there and you have it."

Coen said the cameras will also remind principals and assistant principals to remain professional at all time. He said the district ordered 13 cameras at a cost of about $100 each.  They are expected to arrive in the next month.

Coen said there will be training before anyone starts wearing the body cameras on a regular basis.  A statement will also be prepared that informs people they are being recorded.

He does not believe there will need to be any changes to school policy since cameras are already in place within the buildings and on school buses.