‘Nobody knew it was there’: Parents protest handling of hidden camera situation at Madison East

MADISON, Wis. – Nearly 50 parents, students and supporters marched the Capitol Square Saturday afternoon to protest MMSD’s handling of a hidden camera situation.

First reported by the Isthmus, officials within MMSD planted hidden cameras inside of smoke detectors in an attempt to catch a nighttime custodian sleeping on the job. One of the cameras was placed in an area where students with disabilities use the restroom.

(My son) can’t consent to having a video camera on him,” said Anna Hauser, whose 15-year-old son attends Madison East and uses the space frequently.  “Nobody knew that was there. It was not being disclosed. That’s hurting people.”

MPD has since said the cameras were not breaking the law.

I’m honestly baffled,” Hauser, who is a member of the group Madison Mommas.  “The (Special Victims Unit) came in and said there wasn’t a crime committed. I’m like, you videotaped students with disabilities without their knowledge where they have their toilet needs met. How is that not illegal?”

MMSD Superintendent Carlton Jenkins has since said the cameras were a violation of district policy. Hauser says it is just the latest issue highlighting a need for change regarding the district’s prioritization of students with disabilities.

Our kids have been battling for years,” Hauser said.  “We’ve been battling for our kids. Advocating for them. We ask questions. We attend meetings. We do all the right channels, now we’re in a place where we’re like, our kids are getting hurt.”