Surveillance in elementary schools

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Feb 18, 2021

    For those who recognize me from NationStates, I wish to clarify in the interest of full disclosure that over the past couple years I was not as sure of myself on this issue as I claimed to be. My initial interest in surveillance in elementary schools came from looking back on upsetting childhood memories of classmates who refused to clear my name as witnesses to things they knew I didn't do. But when the people who didn't share my support for such surveillance ridiculed me for not having friends in the class who could vouch for me, that seared a rather bleak caricature of surveillance opponents into my mind.

    However, after teaching at a prep school in China, I couldn't help but notice that the opponents of school surveillance were right about one thing; I felt a lot more nervous under mass surveillance than I thought I was capable of feeling about it. It's possible my emotions were merely irrational and I should've suppressed them, but I also came to find a begrudging new acknowledgement of the intellect of people who for once were actually vindicated on an aspect of my mind. It almost makes me wonder if the aforementioned "opponents" of surveillance were actually wu mao trying to give said opposition a bad name.

    Nevertheless, I feel the need to delve into the tradeoffs. Why is it that we, as a society, use surveillance to catch criminals on the bus, the subway, the ferry, or in the airport, or the convenience store, or the grocery store, or everywhere crimes happen, except for the one place in which you have a number of potential future criminals, under the same roof, in their formative years, where early warning signs of criminality can be caught early and dealt with more effectively?

    Most societies have been content to throw adults who break the law in prison to be made examples of (except Scandinavia, which makes an honest attempt to rehabilitate them, but until we deal with the root causes of crime I don't think the political will to reform the criminals we've created will exist anytime soon) but we don't want to catch whatever crimes may be committed when a teacher's back is turned; which is inevitable; to set kids on the right path before it's too late.

    They say a teacher should never leave students unattended. That is the ideal, but not always realistic in every school. And then even when they are "attended," a teacher cannot always be watching every student in the classroom. A full-staff duty schedule cannot always cover every nook and cranny of school grounds at lunch and recess. Things happen. Things get missed. Often times reputations are relied upon as the tiebreaker to who to believe, but reputations aren't reliable; just the least awful of several awful options.

    Now, I suppose the other side of it is that, for those against surveillance more generally, the fact that these are their formative years would only further intensify their opposition to surveillance, not weaken it. But if such people were not numerous enough for their votes to pressure politicians into dialing back mass surveillance in public services like transit, obviously they alone cannot explain society's hesitation to line elementary school corridors with surveillance equipment.

    As well, I've worked at middle schools to high schools, and middle schools always seemed to be a higher priority for getting new surveillance equipment than high schools. It is almost as if, in the tradeoff between security and privacy, people value security more, and privacy less, when dealing with younger students. Am I to presume the same pattern can be extrapolated to elementary?
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2021

    If surveillance was free-all schools would have it. Most schools are broke-therefore no surveillance. Don't worry, I am sure it will be coming soon to nearly all schools and classrooms. We have added some at our school.
     
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  4. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Surveillance isn't "free" for convenience stores or buses either. Surely there has to be more to this than finances. If it were just about finance, you'd think catching potential criminality early and dealing with it then would be more "cost-effective" than putting security cameras everywhere else.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Feb 19, 2021

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Are you doing a lot of college research? SO many deep questions for a newby in the forum. Curious.
     
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  6. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Feb 19, 2021

    No, I'm done college. At least until/unless something happens to the career I've switched to since teaching. And even then I don't know if going back to college will be helpful/necessary.

    I think part of the issue is the aforementioned NationStates forums was previously my go-to outlet for teaching-related questions, partly because a lot of people there claimed to have been teachers, even though I never took their word for anything else and no one online can prove they are or have been a teacher. No one can prove it here either, but at least a site with "teacher" in the name is more certain to catch a few other teachers' attention if only by random chance! Where better to discuss things I've thought of then and thought of since?
     
  7. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Feb 20, 2021

    We have had cameras for at least 10 yrs. At 1st, I hated them. It was like Big Brother was watching. The last few yrs there, I found them to be very helpful for the exact reason you mentioned. 2 kids get into a fight in the hall. You don't see which 1 started it. They both blame each other. All you have to do is march them down to the office (if 1 doesn't confess 1st), to see the tape. Once the kids know they are being taped, they are less likely to lie or do certain uncool things. Many times parents do not believe their kid would do something. I had a parent tell me 1x: My kid has never lied to me. ( Insinuating I was lying...) What better evidence than letting THAT parent watch her darling on tape?
     

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