camera covered computer

Camera Off May Mean “Absent” In Palm Beach County Schools

Boca Raton COVID-19 Florida News Palm Beach County Schools

Students To Be Told To Appear On Camera Or Face Being Marked “Absent.”

Won’t Rule Out School Police Home Visits, DCFS Intervention If Students Do Not Appear.

Students covering their cameras may be marked absent in the Palm Beach County School District.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL ( — Students who refuse to turn on their computer’s camera, cover their camera with “post-it notes,” or point their camera to the ceiling or floor may be marked “absent” under a new initiative to be announced Friday in the Palm Beach County School District. School administrators tell that students need to be visible to teachers.

“Engagement is our number one issue,” said Palm Beach County School District Spokesperson Claudia Shea. “Principals have been seeking assistance from administration to get more ‘buy-in’ from parents and more family engagement.”

The problem is notable but not necessarily widespread. has learned that there tends to be an average of one or two students in each class refusing to appear on camera. Whether students are taking their own initiative by covering the camera, or parents are claiming privacy issues varies from case to case. But teachers — as mandatory reporters who must report signs of child abuse to authorities — want to see the students they’re teaching. It’s also an issue of effective education.

“Students don’t hide their faces when they’re in school,” said a teacher speaking with “They shouldn’t hide their faces when they’re at home. I want to see the kids who I’m teaching, otherwise, I don’t know if they’re paying attention or sitting next to parents who are actually doing the work.”

School administrators say they understand that some students may be embarrassed to show their homes — if they even have a home.

“We know we have students who are homeless,” said Shea, ”we know we have students who may be learning while sitting in a car. We can work with these families if we know how to contact them.”

Contact is another issue. Shea said there are many parents who have not updated contact information with the school district, making it difficult — if not impossible — to reach them to offer help.

Another administrator speaking with said while there is no widespread plan to initiate home visits, it is not out of the question that school police officers — or investigators from the Florida Department of Children and Family Services — could be requested to seek families of students who are not visible to teachers on a daily basis.


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