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Monday
Mar022009

Beverly Hills 48025


It seems that my old high school in Beverly Hills, Michigan has found itself embroiled in a debate over the use of surveillance in its hallways after cash, MP3 players and cell phones were stolen from several lockers. While this may signal a loss in trust in the community, it could also be reflective of the expensive nature of many items commonly found in lockers nowadays.

"It's one more sign that times are different today," Jim Ballard, executive director of the Michigan Association of Principals, said. "Years ago, we trusted each other more than we do now.”

I can also tell you firsthand that years ago, we students didn’t keep a lot of cash, MP3 players and cell phones in our lockers. Heck, if you broke into mine, you would have been lucky to find some old textbooks, gym socks and a Daisy Duke poster. Not quite a treasure trove of goods compared to what's readily available today.

But whether or not what students put into their lockers is valuable, the students themselves are pretty valuable, and it seems to me they deserve at least the same level of protection afforded to the malls they hang out in.

However, not all the students think new security measures are such a good idea.

Seaholm student Jake Drutchas wrote the following comment on the wall of a Facebook group called, "Seaholm and Groves Students Against Security Cameras," which has more than 870 members, "For now, let's start with a little student responsibility. Lock your stuff up. Don't leave it out in the open."

He has a point, but it’s also true that school security deployments have nearly always proven a smart development. I think Jake's argument is more founded on the fear that the same surveillance technology used to fight locker thefts will be turned on him for reasons other than safety.

Will the cameras be monitored all the time or just used to investigate incidents? Who will have access to the cameras and for what purposes? Lots and lots of very good questions.

If Beverly Hills Groves follows the national trend, they too will get security cameras installed -- if not this year, then sometime in the not-too-distant future. However, Jake Drutchas and his Facebook posse can continue to put their passion and energy on the issue to good use by helping the district draft a clear and responsible policy with respect to the use of surveillance inside their hallways.

There certainly are ways to balance security and privacy inside of educational institutions, and I think you will find the hippie baby-boomers who run school districts these days are more than open to them.

Reader Comments (2)

>Was curious if you have heard much from school districts in 'these hard times' for your product. While I can't really remember ever leaving anything of monetary value in my locker during my high school days, the keepsakes kids hold dear these days do tend to be much more costly and coveted. Undeniably, having your product on school campuses would provide many more useful aspects than locker security, especially in some of our inner-city high schools. It might be something the school districts should consider when we get out of this recession.

March 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngelica

Thanks for the great post I was searching for information for a article im writing

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeren Barlip

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