Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cameras vs. Textbooks

It’s not usually a hard choice in the academic field, especially in affluent communities, unless referring to high schools. My school has decided to make my senior year even more exciting with the addition of hundreds of tiny surveillance cameras positioned in hallways, the parking lot, and all over the school.

Like many, I became weary of the cameras at first sight during registration; little did I know they would be positioned throughout the entire school. I suppose the purpose of them is to go back on tapes after an incident such as a fight or vandalism. The problem with this is that Northville High School has all most no fight and no vandalism; unlike Detroit which may see several each day in each of its many high schools.

My first hour started as it had during the previous year, in the broadcast room. Something seemed different this year though; every monitor to every video editing system was broken. Not to mention every TV in the entire building that required reprogramming in order to be able to display the morning announcements which my class and I work so very hard to produce every morning, not to mention every student the class was required to participate in the reprogramming. Without the proper equipment, the morning news might be much lacking capered to years past.

Continuing on my day in a usual senior fashion, disobeying minute rules about cutting in line and not raising my hand to talk, I went on ignoring the cameras existence. My AP U.S. History class met during the last period of the day (4th Block), the experience was overall good, and the teacher enjoyable. One major problem stuck out in my mind though: there are not enough textbooks for every student!

One witty student goes on to say “we can afford $500,000 for cameras but not a textbook for every student?” To which most in the class pleasantly agreed. And though the book dilemma will be solved, it won’t be solved without much time and much bureaucracy. The teacher goes on to say “it will probably take up to seven weeks.” Leaving students educations behind in the name of “security.”

The school board recently sent a letter home to all parents warning them of “budgetary challenge[s],” that will cut “areas, such as operations and maintenance,” but promise to “work diligently to keep the cuts away from the classroom,” later comparing the school to “any other business.”

If this statement is in fact true, then why have academic and technology areas been cut while “operations,” I’m concluding, of surveillance cameras have ten folded. The reason must be buried in the intuitive nature of the school district to protect itself against what it views as a threat. That threat happens to be the very thing it claims to hold in its best interests: students.

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