Special need parents of Horry County call for action

Parents want accountability
Photo Source: MGN Online
Photo Source: MGN Online

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Facebook is known for connecting people through social media and the site is giving Horry County parents of special-need children a place to call for action from the school system.

Parents Wanting Accountability, is a Facebook group which was launched about three years ago. The motivating force behind the group is to get video cameras into special needs classrooms.  In the last few weeks the number of likes have grown after two Horry County employees were arrested for allegedly abusing a special needs student.

"If you're not doing anything wrong why not have cameras I don't understand that?" Kimberly Kuiken, one of the group organizers said. "Why not have an open door policy?"

Kuiken has a 12-year-old son Jack who is autistic and currently enrolled in Horry County Schools. Kuiken said her son has had a great experience inside the county school system. Her drive to organize and support the group is to hold faculty accountable and keep the classrooms safe for all special needs children, not just her son.

"There is a lot to discuss," Kuiken continued. "There is issues up and down and all around, but overall at the end of the day if it is going to save a child from being abused I don't see why not." She said she will be look to meet with Horry County school leaders about this issue soon.

Horry County School has not made any commitment to install cameras inside classrooms. Currently classrooms are all monitored through unannounced visits by administrative staff. If Horry County Schools decides to place cameras in classrooms, then school administrators would have to consider the undetermined expenditures associated with equipment, installation, and personnel associated with monitoring classroom cameras.

Debbie Wardell worked for more than 10 years at Horry County Schools. She now runs SC Interventionists, which is a service where behavior therapists provide in-home assistance with special-need students.

Wardell is a supporter of the online group. She said she understands why it might feel intrusive for some to have cameras, "especially when you're in the classroom and your supposed to be on cue for seven hours-a-day, but it would be helpful. It would be more helpful than hurtful."

Wardell said her and her team have been using video tapes to audit staff periodically for years, "It's just become a necessary reality."

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