Previous   Next

Do you think having security cameras inside schools violates students’ rights to privacy?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 21, 2006

Browse the archives

Photo of Robert Curtis

“No, of course not. They have to make sure that everyone is all right. : But I think they should only use them for safety issues and not for stuff like public displays of affection.”

Photo of Emma King

“It doesn’t bother me. I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t have anything to worry about.”

Photo of Jen Nickels-Schaad

“I don’t think it does. It would probably just keep them safe.”

Photo of Robert Wilson

“No, because the school has the obligation to create a secure environment.”


gccs14r 12 years, 5 months ago

It's nice to know that our youth have been properly indoctrinated into the surveillance society. They've never known what it meant to be free, so they have no idea that they aren't.

Victory Gin is $3.99 a litre at Sino-Mart.

Ragingbear 12 years, 5 months ago

Just remember, it IS as bad as you think. And they ARE out to get you.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

I don't see a problem with it. School is a public place and students should not have an expectation of privacy in a public place. The same does not go for restrooms. There is a reasonable expectation of privacy there.

Those of you who are not in favor of security cameras in schools, would you please give a coherent argument? You might convince me. Paranoid, conspiracy statements aren't very persuasive.

This is anecdotal, but I was chased on a series of occasions with the threat of violence after school by a group of students I did not know and therefore could not report them. The most I was ever able to do was run and hide in a teacher's classroom and thereby run the risk of missing my bus. I even brought a knife to school to protect myself in case they ever caught me. If I brought a friend with me, they chased us both. I don't know why they had it in their hearts to do me harm. I guess because I was white and they were black and I must of caught their attention some how. Anyway, security cameras could have identified them. The few security guards we had were a joke. Everyday multiple fights broke out. The blacks would join in to help out another black, but the whites would not help out another white. There was no safety in places with lots of people, like the bus pick up location and the school was so large that people could remain anonymous. The people who did know names would not speak up. I suppose I could have let them catch me and beat me up until security finally got there and broke it up, then they would know who they were. But, I was scared and did not want to get beat up. A couple of black guys eventually did punch me a few times (I don't know if they were part of the other group that had been chasing me the year before). A whole mob of students gathered round to watvh the fight. I pushed through the crowd and went to the administration building, but it did no good, I did not know the guys.

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

One entry found for spear-carrier. Main Entry: spear-carrier Function: noun 1 a : a member of an opera chorus b : a bit actor in a play 2 : a person whose actions are of little significance or value in an event or organization ========================================

Is it really so necessary to be so politically correct as to find racism in everything ever said anywhere? Might as well get rid of the English language if we're going to do that.

People might actually want to look something up before running off at the mouth with insinuations.

But then again, that might take the fun out of activism. At least for those that want to be some sort of activist just for the sake of saying they are one. At least find something worthwhile. Or at the very least, do some research first.

Escapee 12 years, 5 months ago

Dear Lawrencians...why do you think the students at LHS are NOT opposed to this??? is because they DO NOT FEEL SAFE!!!! As a mother of two former LHS students...I am thankful my children no longer have to walk those halls. Administration within these walls are the guilty ones. They are AFRAID to discipline!!!

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

Jane you claim to be anti PC yet you call attention to what YOU think are poor word choices? Those "choice words" are perfectly in line with the rest of the sentence. What exactly was your intention by pointing out "spear-carriers" in the article?

And what was your point about posting the definition to the word "clown"? Is it supposed to shame or embarrass me? Or is it to deflect attention away from you by "demonstrating" that due to my moniker that perhaps no one should take whatever I have to say seriously? Seeing as to how I'm such a rude vulger peasent.

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago


The schools are in a Catch-22. If they did discipline, they are faced with angry parents and possible lawsuits over the fact that their darlings are being picked on by the school.

If they don't, then they are faced with angry parents and possible lawsuits over the fact that their kids are picked on by bullies at the school ala Togonxie.

The cameras are the best solution. Now the parents of the darlings can't claim bias against them with the visual proof, and the parents of those that are subjected to being bullied can be assured that those doing it will be caught.

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago


You're right. I'll avoid turning this into a flame war. I just felt the need to point out that someone was trying to turn a "non issue" into an issue. And then I had to address the backpeddling that was done.

If this forum morphs into a PC discussion because of me I apologize. I'll weigh in on it perhaps but will refrain from taking personal swipes at her from now on. And hopefully I'll not call anyone a boor for their opinions.

Escapee 12 years, 5 months ago

Catch-22, my behind.... The people in this town are oblivious to what goes on in these schools. And the ones who DO only about 'my kid'. It is SO LAWRENCE. Take responsbility for the environment in your schools. Adhere to strict policies. Take back control of the only thing worthy of all your attention -- the raising of your children. Lazy parents equal lazy administrators. If there's to be a battle, let it be among parents, and let it be...until there is resolution!!! If there were decent private schools within reasonable range of Lawrence...your dear public high schools would be floundering at best....

Escapee 12 years, 5 months ago'd ya like your freaking soul pounded to death in the hallways of LHS? Or... perhaps stop the pandemonium with the aid of a security camera for starters?? That's how bad it is. I have children whose classes are visited MULTIPLE TIMES during the course of a period by Security personnel just to keep the classroom safe. You want kids to LEARN in this environment??? The only thing my kids learned was that the parents and administrators didn't care enough to stop it...immediately.

lunacydetector 12 years, 5 months ago

they are okay as long as they are not used in the restrooms (which has been the case in some schools across the country).

beatrice 12 years, 5 months ago

I think Escapee exagerates. If kids are being "pounded to death in the hallways," perhaps instead of cameras stealing their souls the kids need karate lessons. Instead of just taking what is handed down to them, they will learn to fight back against all kinds of evil in the world ... like the constant invasion of their personal and what should be private lives.

Of course, we are talking about the spawn of baby boomers who are used to having a video camera stuck in their face all the time, and they talk loudly on their cell phones and don't care who hears their end of the conversations. Perhaps they really don't mind the invasion.

prospector: C&W??? Please. I'm more punk, funk, blues, and good old rock.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 5 months ago

I get a kick out of all the people that go on about how we "no longer live in a free society". These people ought to try living in a foreign country or two. Then they'll see that we have a great number of rights that other's do not. We truly are the land of the free and just because a few cameras are put up in PUBLIC places, it does not mean that we have surrendered those rights.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 5 months ago

While I didn't have any problems in school here, my siblings and I were routinely harrassed at the inner city schools we attended in Chicago. When you are the only white family in the school, you are easy targets. The school never did jack when we reported incidences. I did not experience that kind of treatment when I came here. I was happy to be here and raise my children here. I thought things had changed (in reality they they didn't change as I heard stories from others as adults who had been harrasset and bullied, I supose I was left alone becuase nobody was going to F$#% with that tall chick from Chicago ghettoland) when my son was ambushed by some jock wannbes and stuffed in the dirty gym laundry out in the hall, also reported and nothing done. Or my niece that was repeated atttacked on the bus and in the halls by a group of girls with a ghetto plagued mindset, also reported and nothing done. I got the, "We believe you but have no proof so it's a 'your word against mine' kind of thing." I told them they better keep those B!^@#@$ away from my niece and install surveillance equipment because they didn't want me to teach my niece how to streetfight Chicago-style. Now that they can be sued by students whom they failed to protect from harrasment and bullying, they are following my suggestion. No need to thank me, all, I am just glad our kids will have the proof they need when some a-hole attacks them.

redjayj 12 years, 5 months ago

Ben Franklin said it best though.... Those who are willing to give up freedom for security deserve neither.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

I get so tired of that Ben Franklin quote, which was an unjustified generalization. People quote him as though his thoughts matter more than the any other person's opinion. I think that his statement might be true in some cases, but not as a general rule. And who is he to say people don't deserve freedom or security.

All who believe his statement should try a thought exercise. Imagine you are in Darfur. You can do anything you want and have all the freedom you can imagine until someone kills you, which shouldn't be too long. Give me some security. People who aren't on occasion willing to give up some freedom for security probably have never experienced enduring fear due to no one being able to protect you from those wish to harm you.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

beatrice said: "If kids are being "pounded to death in the hallways," perhaps instead of cameras stealing their souls the kids need karate lessons. Instead of just taking what is handed down to them, they will learn to fight back"

I learned some karate, but do you understand the situation I was in? Me, one white average sized 7th grader against 7 athletically built guys. One on 7 is not fair. Heck, why not lets having roving bands of gangs armed to the teeth "protect themselves" by blowing up the neighborhood. I don't wish pain on anyone, but I wish you could get a taste of fear so that you would have some sympathy for the abused. One major function of society is to protect each other so that we are not all living in constant fear of someone bigger and stronger.

Jayhawk226 12 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of Chicago...

...a few years back, Proviso Township High School District purchased over 2,000 security cameras for installation in and around their two high schools.

I wonder if they caught kids washing, not washing, after going to the bathroom?

I can't imagine what to do with 1,000 security cameras in one high school.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 5 months ago

Enochville: What does your being white have to do with anything? You never said that your attackers were black. You just said that they were athletes. Why do people always point out the fact that they are white, as though that means they are weaker?

beatrice 12 years, 5 months ago

Prospector: "It works for the NFL, right? Will Steeler be eating horsemeat?" Very funny analogy -- and YES THEY WILL!! Sorry, didn't know The Embarrasments. I wasn't in Lawrence then. I was in Phoenix, and loved the Meat Puppets.

Enochville: Why do you assume others haven't experienced "fear," just because they don't want to instantly embrace the thought of cameras following our teens' every actions? Trust me, in this society a woman understands fear. Thus women must be aware of where they go and behave in a manner that is different from men, because of the preditory nature of many men. So don't try to preach to me about fear because some jocks once chased you. Women live with it every day. I'm also not against security. To assume so is silly. However, I do think that security cameras can be remarkable intrusive, and I would want to ask a lot of questions before I gave my okay to allowing cameras to record teens' actions. Who is monitoring, who has access, what quality of camera will be used, and yes, will they be used in the locker rooms.

Oh, and as far as your thought exercise. Okay, I'm imagining I'm in Darfur. Wow, don't I feel safe knowing that they put up a camera on the corner.

Seriously, your exercise makes no sense because you are talking apples and oranges. Of course Darfur is more dangerous, just as South Chicago is more dangerous than South Lawrence. Big deal.

So, how about this one. Imagine you are in Singapore. Crime rates are remarkable low and women can walk the streets at night without fear, because of a strong emphasis on security, and the fact that personal freedoms to do things as simple as chew gum in public, wear long hair if you are a man, speak out against the government, all are heavily punished. Remember the American kid who was caned for vandalism? Would you prefer if America were like Singapore? It would, without question, be safer for most in everyday circumstances. But is that truly what you want.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

Oh, did I forget to mention they were black? Well, they were.

Oh, I did mention it a few times: "I guess because I was white and they were black and I must of caught their attention some how. "

"A couple of black guys eventually did punch me a few times (I don't know if they were part of the other group that had been chasing me the year before)"

White does not mean weak. If you were to spend any time at all in southwest Macon, Georgia, even now, you'd have no doubt that black kids beat up on white kids that they don't even know just because they are white. It is just a fact. There is no prejudice implied in my statement. Several decades ago, I am sure that it was just the opposite; that a group of white kids would beat up on a black guy that they did not know just because he was black. It sucks and I for one am glad to be out of there.

enochville 12 years, 5 months ago

beatrice: If I misread your statement, I apologize. It just seemed that you were favoring a policy of "learn to defend yourself, because we aren't going to do anything to help identify or prevent your abusers". Which would be a very extreme philosophy that I cannot support. I cannot see how anyone who has experienced fear of bodily harm could propose such a view. But, now that you have spelled out your thinking some more, which is more moderate than your first posts appeared, I think we have a lot of common ground.

I use the Darfur example to illustrate what an extreme policy of all freedom leads to. Almost everyone will agree that all freedom societies are not good for anybody, which brings nearly everyone in my direction that some freedoms need to be restrained for the sake of security. Then all we are debating about is degree and finding the balance.

I agree with you that questions should be asked. I also agree that I don't want to go all the way to the other extreme in which we are willing to live in a military state just for security. I just misread your earlier posts.


classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

What I don't understand is how cameras in a public place like a public school is invading anyone's privacy or personal life. Their personal lives are at home not at school. And what privacy do they have a right to in the public hallways of the public school? Anything they or anyone else for that matter do in a public place is done without any expectation of privacy.

gccs14r 12 years, 5 months ago


There's a difference between observing behavior and recording it for posterity. If we're to live with cameras, then the watchers bear recording, too.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

Well, I was going to say what e_m said at 4:58 am, but I hate to be redundant and I can never beat him to the post. Maybe I can tie him to the post and beat him. :OP

YourItalianPrincess 12 years, 5 months ago

I think they are great. Now that some students think they are able to get away with things, they will be caught and possibly found guilty. You certainly can't deny you did it when its on video.

sharron5rs 12 years, 5 months ago

If the cameras can tell who keyed a body part in the back of my boyfriends daughters car, then they will be worth it. We are ALL watched more than anyone of you realize. Cameras and pictures are taken of the public all the time and they are everywhere.... Big Brother here we are

classclown 12 years, 5 months ago

Interesting how you invoke cries of "Big Brother" while at the same time lauding its potential to suit your personal needs.

Out of curiousity, was the young lady's car parked taking up two spaces? People that do that deserve to have their cars keyed.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.