Table of Contents
This handout includes sample text parents, legal guardians, and adult students can use in a letter to report an incident and request access to recordings. This sample letter covers situations where a camera is already in place in a special education classroom. If you are looking for more information about this topic, including how to request a camera be placed in a classroom, check out How to Request a Camera in Your Child’s Special Education Classroom.
When to use this sample letter
If a parent suspects that a child has been abused or neglected in a monitored classroom or setting, then he or she should first submit a written incident report as soon as possible. Either with or following the incident report, you should submit a written request for release of the recording for viewing.
Districts are required to have a process for the reporting of incidents. Ask your district if it has forms to report an incident and request access to the recording. If it doesn’t have a process or forms, you can use this sample letter to submit your own incident report and request to view the recording.
How to submit your report and request
To submit your incident report and request to view the recording, copy the information in the “Sample Letter” section below and paste it into an email or Word document. Then, change the information in brackets () to reflect your situation and add the other necessary information that is blank in the sample letter (e.g., Classroom/Setting Room Number, Name, Address, etc.). With all of the information changed to reflect your situation, submit the letter to the school principal and the district superintendent.
Languages: this sample letter is available in English and Spanish. Be aware that DRTx recommends that you provide your letter in a language understandable to the party or entity receiving it, which in most circumstances will be English.
[Name of school principal]
[Name of public school]
[Address of public school]
Dear Principal [name],
I am the [parent/legal guardian] of [student’s name], who is a student enrolled and attending [name of public school]. I am writing to report an incident involving [student’s name] in [his/her] special education classroom. The classroom is under video and audio surveillance pursuant to Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 29.022. Therefore, I am also writing to request the release of video and audio recordings of the incident for viewing by me as authorized by the Texas Education Code and Texas Administrative Code. My child’s special education placement is:
Classroom/Setting Room Number:
To the best of my knowledge at this time, I have the following information on the incident involving my child.
Date(s) of alleged incident(s): [specific date or reasonable date range, such as a particular week]
Time(s) of alleged incident(s): [specific time or period of day, such as morning or end of school day]
Description of alleged incident(s): [Describe abuse or neglect, such as physical injury by a staff member or sexual abuse by another student]
Identification of witness(es): [names of individuals that you are aware of who observed first-hand the incident(s), such as teacher, aide, or another student]
If the school has already made a report to Child Protective Services about the incident, then I ask that you please inform me.
Please contact me as soon as possible to arrange the location and time for releasing for viewing the requested recordings. If the district denies my request, then please send me the denial in writing along with a copy of the local internal grievance policy. Under state law, I request that the district maintain, preserve, and save all video and audio recordings of my child’s special education classroom beyond the mandatory minimum period until all investigations, determinations, and appeals have been fully completed.
Copy to District Superintendent
What happens next?
Even if the district asserts that an incident did not occur, that does not negate your right to view the recording. However, if the school refuses your request to view the recording, you have the right to appeal. See How to Request a Camera in Your Child’s Special Education Classroom for the steps you can take to appeal a decision.
Publication Code: ED44
Statewide Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone: 1-866-362-2851
Purple 2 Video Phone: 512-271-9391
Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org
Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.
The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.
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