Wow! Another week and another Google Alert. This time, its about having cameras in the classrooms in the United Kingdom. Wonder if this trend will hit up the United States?

A group in the UK called Class watch sets up cameras in classrooms and uses this as a basis for professional development. So far, they have been set up in over 100 schools and used for in class surveillance. They state that this is not an action of Big Brother existing but of trying to help teachers improve their performance in the classroom. Also, it can catch any abuse of peers as well. However, Civil Liberties advocates tend to disagree with this approach and see it as an invasion of the learning environment. Some at the UK Teachers Union feel these clips can be edited to make the teacher out to be the bad guy. Some at the PTA National Headquarters here in the US feel that if a demand comes in, this could be occurring in US schools at some point.

One thing I have to say is I do not agree with an invasion of privacy. As Americans, we do have our right to privacy. However, since the birth of the Internet, haven’t we lost a good bit of this privilege anyway? At the same time, having cameras in various locations has helped to catch criminals. Cameras do exist on some school buses now and in hallways. So, having them installed really should not be a big issue. One thing it would catch is any abuse that peers are giving to each other. A lot of this happens in the classroom and right under a teachers nose yet it goes undetected. This form of abuse is hard to prove because 99% of it is done away from authority. It sure would help in catching a lot of what is occurring and what parents and students bring to the attention of school personnel. The biggest problem I see is when school personnel will take these and edit them or conveniently loose them. I know that has happened in the past.

As for Big Brother, he has been hanging around for a long time. He has not entered our homes as of yet but he sure is out there in public places. I doubt he is planning to leave the building anytime soon.


Elizabeth Bennett is the author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective. To learn more, visit Peer Abuse Know More! 







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