Thu. May 23rd, 2024

North Carolina superintendent race reignites controversial debate over cameras in classrooms

By 37ci3 Apr13,2024

Whether or not there is a requirement is debatable cameras in classrooms He has emerged as a flashpoint in the politically charged race to become North Carolina’s top public education official.

Republican candidate Michele Morrow is a conservative activist with a history of inflammatory online comments and who was involved Stop the theft rally Ahead of the 2021 US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 – he called for classroom cameras as part of a broader campaign to advocate for parental rights. His Democratic challenger, Mo Green, the former superintendent of the state’s third-largest school district, spoke out against the cameras.

The issue has helped define starkly different candidates in the race to become North Carolina’s superintendent of public education — a job that oversees the state’s public schools, a $12 billion budget and 1.4 million students — in a race already on display. drilling Morrow’s past support of conspiracy theories and explosive social media posts.

“We must have a video surveillance system. This will protect not only our students, but our teachers as well,” Morrow said in February. interview “so we can see what’s really happening in the classrooms” with the Real Talk Podcast, a political show focusing on law enforcement issues.

During another interview that month, he described his support for video surveillance in public school classrooms as part of a strategy to make schools “the safest buildings in our entire state.”

“We need metal detectors or weapons detection systems and we need video surveillance in our schools,” he said in February interview with a conservative political action committee.

In response to questions from NBC News about the risk of putting cameras in classrooms that bad actors could benefit from the footage, Morrow said classroom cameras “could be useful” to “prevent misbehavior or violence in the classroom, or to prevent anti-Semitism or violence.” But for them. it will be up to the Legislature to approve funding.

Green told NBC News in an email that he would work to make public schools “safe” places where “parents are engaged,” but that surveillance cameras are not necessary to achieve those goals.

Race is just the latest political battleground on public education. Republican officials and candidates at various levels of government across the country, outraged by required masking and other policies implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, have increased focus on public school classrooms, forcing them to ban certain books and children from teaching them. critical race theory.

It’s part of a broader push by conservatives.parental rights“,” message has gained attention in recent years after Republicans Glenn YoungkinA surprise 2021 win in the Virginia governor’s race.

Some Republicans support parental rights a push to request cameras in classrooms — supporters say the move would allow parents to see exactly what their children are being taught, in some cases in real time. Other advocates say the cameras are needed to keep schools safer from mass shootings.

Critics note that video recording of children would open up the public education arena to a number of security concerns, including concerns about privacy, hacking and child safety. Teachers and teacher advocates criticized the effort as targeted censorship of classrooms and intimidate teachers which focus on topics such as race and history.

A long history of controversy

Morrow, a nurse who homeschooled her own children, has a well-documented history of expressing controversial opinions on education and many other issues.

He pushed removing critical race theory and diversity and inclusion efforts from public school classrooms. He pledged to “remove progressive indoctrination in schools” during his race for superintendent, accusing public school teachers of “teaching kids to hate our country” and teaching “transgender theory.”

Asked if he stood by those comments in an email to NBC News, Morrow said, “There are programs in North Carolina that train teachers to spread a one-sided view of America as a racist, colonialist and malevolent force in the world. dystopian vision” and in North Carolina “we have preschoolers being taught that men can get pregnant and transgender flags displayed in elementary school hallways where the American flag hangs”.

Morrow has called out public schools before “centers of socialism” and “indoctrination centers” and said in 2022 that “from day one, the whole plan of the education system has essentially been to control the minds of our youth.” He he called In North Carolina, parents should not send their children to public schools.

2020 on social media posthe said he would support the public execution of former President Barack Obama, writing, “I’d rather pay him every penny in front of his firing squad” and “We can make some money televising his death.”

In another post later that year, he responded to a suggestion that people remain masked, suggesting that he would support the assassination of President Joe Biden. writing“kill all traitors.”

He defended those tweets — they were CNN reported the first information about it – recently last month.

In other social media posts from 2019 to 2021, Morrow wrote about Other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are being executed for treason.

He attacked LGBTQ rights placed That the US should “ban Islam” and it has chimed in various QAnon on social media conspiracy theories, including the allegation that celebrities are collecting children’s blood.

Morrow scored an upset goal victory Last month, the chairman of the primary election commission in North Carolina, defeats current Catherine Truitt.

Meanwhile, Green, an attorney who previously worked for a public school superintendent and education foundation, ran a fairly traditional Democratic campaign based largely on increasing public funding for public education.

Democratic candidate for state supervisor Mo Green speaks at the state party headquarters on March 21, 2024 in Raleigh, NC.
Democratic candidate for state supervisor Mo Green speaks at the state party headquarters in Raleigh, NC on March 21.News and Observer via Travis Long/Getty Images)

In an email to NBC News, Green described Morrow as a candidate with “a very dark and extreme view of our education system in North Carolina.”

“Because she has no experience as a public school teacher and little exposure to North Carolina public schools, she believes the dangerous conspiracy theories about the public education system are completely false,” Green wrote. “Public schools are not centers of indoctrination to be persecuted, as my opponent claims.”

Conservative speed for classroom cameras

Morrow is the latest Republican to push for classroom cameras.

Republican lawmakers alone this year at least introduced bills five states require or install cameras in classrooms, either to increase curriculum transparency or to increase school safety. Individual regions many states have taken similar measures in recent years, and several have passed laws requiring cameras in special education classrooms. In 2021, a group called the Nevada Family Alliance suggested placing body cameras on teachers to ensure that they do not teach critical race theory.

At the same time, public education has emerged as one of the most important issues race for governor In North Carolina – which will also serve as a battleground in the presidential race – it’s bitter here fight over expansion of school voucher programs mainly fell along partisan lines.

National education leaders nonetheless singled out Morrow for his stance on the cameras, as well as for many of his other past controversial statements.

“Parents want leaders to focus on smaller class sizes, safer schools and ensuring students have the resources they need to succeed. “Unfortunately, too many extreme politicians these days are focused on banning books and taking away opportunities for students to learn,” said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the largest union of educators in the United States.

Morrow, he added, “stands out among them for his calls for political violence, his calls for spying on school children, his promotion of QAnon conspiracy theories, and his attacks on public schools.”

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By 37ci3

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