A new policy requiring Broward County Public Schools students to keep their cameras on during virtual learning is getting pushback from thousands of students in the district.
“I know personally people that are not in home environments that are as nice so by showing their house to everybody in their class, by showing their parents and their siblings running around in the background, I know that’s really embarrassing,” said Kayla Bello, a sophomore at Fort Lauderdale High School.
Bello is one of thousands of Broward County students who signed a petition on Change.org titled “Cameras Should Not Be Required In Broward County Schools.” The petition has more than 8,000 signatures.
“This policy is discriminatory in practice because there are students who don’t have access to computers and laptops with cameras or microphones,” said student Raymond Adderly. “There are students that live in our low-income districts that can’t afford a laptop and have to share with a brother or sister.”
Schools and COVID
Last week, the school board updated its policy, which states in part:
“During distance learning, the use of student cameras is required for attendance and instruction. Students will be counted in attendance in the learning environment during their scheduled class time.“
“Students will be counted as absent when no evidence of the student’s online presence can be observed by the teacher during their scheduled class time.”
NBC 6 reached out to the school district for a statement but haven’t gotten a response.
Students say other ways to boost participation would be to use the chat function or checking in with students every 10 to 15 minutes to make sure they’re paying attention.