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Tennessee bill proposes emergency body camera funding for teachers

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(The Center Square) – A pair of Tennessee lawmakers announced they introduced a bill to fund emergency body cameras and call buttons for schoolteachers with $300 in funding apiece.

State Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, and State Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, want to fund lanyards with an emergency button that will send an alert and also begin video and audio recording if a teacher is in a dangerous situation due to student behavior, if there is a medical emergency or if there is an active threat or active shooter.

The bill would fund $300 per teacher for the devices at the state’s public, charter, private and church-related schools with a cap of $50,000 in funding for each school. Each school building would be able to have five devices available for substitute teachers as well.

“This technology can save lives by improving the response time of law enforcement and EMS to immediate classroom threats such as discipline issues, medical emergencies or active shooters,” Pody said in a statement. “It’s like having a Ring doorbell on teachers’ lanyards, and when they press that button they know help is coming. Adopting new technology to increase resources for teachers to improve school safety is something everyone can support, so I’m optimistic about this legislation.”

The devices would immediately alert law enforcement and school administrators as well as providing live video of any incident once the button is pressed.

“Our highest duty is to provide great classrooms and excellent teachers in a safe environment while maintaining equal opportunities for every student to learn,” Lynn said in a statement. “This legislation provides additional layers of support to ensure we utilize every available tool to make Tennessee schools the safest, most secure in the nation.”

The bill asks for the devices to have three buttons for different levels of emergency, with the behavioral issue button alerting school administrators and a school resource officer that a teacher needs immediate assistance.

“The recording will also provide video evidence of the incident, which can help parents or law enforcement address the specific behavior issue of the student,” the announcement said.

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