I'm not sure what to think about this revelation my daughter informed me of tonight. I plan on getting to the bottom of it tomorrow, but I wanted to
put this out now to see if anyone has a child with this situation in his/her classroom...I don't want to jump to conclusions until I talk to her
school, but here's what she told me:
A few days ago, she said a "flat screen t.v." was installed in every classroom at her school. The only area not to receive one was the cafeteria.
My daughter and a couple of classmates discussed amongst themselves how the school was able to afford flat screen t.v.'s when it didn't have enough
money to purchase the basic supplies for the classroom. This discussion led to her classmate posing this question to the teacher, (much to his
chagrin, according to my daughter.)
The teacher's response was that the "t.v.'s" were purchased through "parent donations," and that they were going to be used in conjunction with
webcams because "Big Brother's gonna be watching you every now and then." He said occasionally a "face would appear in a pop up screen" on the
t.v. which would indicate the class was being monitored at that moment.
My daughter said there was no mention whatsoever of these flat screen "t.v.'s" being used for remote classroom instruction or for teaching more
than one class simultaneously. Also, she said there was no mention of the t.v.'s being used to view instructional videos. Though I never use the
term "Big Brother" myself, she has knowledge of it's use in reference to the government and told me she got the impression that her teacher was,
indeed, saying that it was the government who would be watching them.
So upon hearing this news, I was concerned about several things:
1. "Parent donations" paid for flat screen monitors for every classroom in the school? I think not. Our city's school district is largely made
up of low income families and I seriously doubt they would offer up cash for such purposes. If these screens are a result of "parent donations,"
what prompted a parent to donate to this cause? There have been no requests for such donations made to parents that I'm aware of.
2. There has been no notification whatsoever that this monitoring system was going to be installed, let alone what it's purpose is. I suspect if
the parents were to be informed of this, they, too, would be questioning why such equipment has been purchased despite the fact there have been severe
cutbacks to our entire district, even to the point of our classrooms not having all the necessary supplies for day to day instruction.
3. If the classrooms ARE going to be monitored, who is doing the monitoring and for what purpose?
Like I said before, I'm going to get to the bottom of this tomorrow, at which time I'll update. Hopefully, this is not a program that is
government-based. However, after doing a little research on the Internet, I tend to think it's going to be just that.
Perhaps this has been discussed on ATS before, but I did find this article dated back in 2003 that reports a school in Biloxi, Mississippi, had
installed webcams in every classroom for "security reasons." Here's a snippet from the article and the link:
So far, Biloxi is the only school district in the nation to install Webcams in every classroom — nearly 500 so far. But school districts in
cities nationwide and in England are experimenting with classroom Webcams for security reasons, installing the affordable cameras in hallways and
selected classrooms and planning devices for future schools. One security firm says it's negotiating with an undisclosed urban district to install
15,000 cameras so security personnel can keep an eye on classes, hallways and parking lots.
If this is, indeed what these flat screens have been installed for, why all the secrecy? Furthermore how were they truly paid for?
There's also this link to an article from CBS earlier this year involving a high school that was caught spying on students via webcams in numerous
As stated in the first article, many parents don't mind at all that their child is monitored by webcams because they say they want to know what their
child is up to. I just view this kind of thing as a form of indoctrination designed to get our kids accustomed to being under the camera's eye all
Like I said, I don't know if this is, indeed, what is happening at my child's school, but if it is, hopefully you share my concern over the idea of
our kids being surveilled on a random basis. Doesn't that task fall under the job duties of the the teacher? Is it now the circumstance that the
teacher is not sufficient to handle one classroom to the point we must resort to having the school staff, the police, or some branch of the government
spying on them as well?