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It's about dang time
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Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 05:42:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]

FRESNO, Calif. -- THEY look like small snow globes. The dozen inconspicuous cameras on walls and ceilings at the school campus at the center of this central California city capture video images of students as they enter and leave the two buildings, work in the computer lab, climb and descend the main staircase or relax outside.

Not only can the comings and goings of the 350 teenagers at the two public charter schools here be watched from a monitor in a small room next to the main building's reception area, but they can also be seen remotely over the Internet.

Sometimes the schools' executive director checks the cameras from her home. And if a crime occurs, the computers at the Fresno Police Department can display an immediate picture of what is happening.

As security becomes an ever more pressing concern, schools across the nation are seeking new ways to provide a sense of safety to students, staff members and parents.

Okay, call it security.....I am tickled to death about this and wonder what took them so long. I have been an advocate of cameras in schools for years but it was 'against the privacy policy'. To me this privacy act sounds more like 'hiding things that they don't want us to see'. How is a public school a private arena? I wish they had a camera in every classrom and school bus as well.

Tom A    Posted 02-27-2003 at 12:12:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Guess I'm very sad that it has come to this.

My wife drives a school bus. Seems *most* (not all, but most) parents don't believe their little darlings do anything wrong unless they see it on tape, so about half the buses here have cameras on at all times, and all the buses have the mounts so that the cameras can be rotated in without anybody's (including the driver's) knowledge.

Saved at least one driver's rear when a kid claimed the driver had hit her...fortunately the tape that happened to be rolling at the time showed a totally different story, otherwise the driver would have been smoked like a cheap cigar.

sorry to rant...
Tom A

Errin OH    Posted 02-27-2003 at 11:55:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't know exactly why it took so long. The small town skool my kids go to have had them for years. In fact you can't go to Skool, Wally World, Kit Mart, or MickyD's without getting recorded at some point. I for one like it. I have some reservations on using them for stuff like traffic fines (to verify "I" was drivin you would have to invade a private space). All in all it serves to protect me and don't have any issues with camera in public locations (including public trans). When I was have'n my DHS trouble (can't spank my kid) I set up a camcorder and showed them how the kid was acting and the focus quickly went from me (an abusive, neglecting piece of shutt who beats his kids) to the real problem, a kid that was outta control and needed to be set straight before it was to late. The very prosecutor that wanted me to spend a year in jail told me, after dropping the charges, If it had been his kid he'd busted them too. Its really funny how ones actions change once there is an "unrefutable" witness.

And no they won't stop someone who is he!! bent on doin something, but it will make the ones who look around to see who's watching...

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 12:06:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
This is your child you're referring to as out of control? Was there a cause determined? So many people say give 'em drugs, which I think is horse pucky. But each parent has the right to make that choice. How did it all turn out? What is the bahvior like now? Did it improve? Not to be nosey but having a toughie of my own I wonder.

Errin OH    Posted 02-27-2003 at 14:26:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Turned out really good. She went through about 3 months counseling, I a joke of a parenting class, and we're doing great. It was about 11 years ago my ex ran off and left me with a 1, 3, and 5 year olds. Well the 5 year old didn't adjust very well and became a problem. By the age of 7 skool, sitters, church, just about anywhere she went she wasn't taken crap, she was given it out. It became obvious that I had to find a way to educate her that just because "I wasn't there", meant she got to do and act as she wanted. So... one day I was summand to the local skool, informed she was given a teacher fits, and it was my fault. (that should have been my first clue) So I took her aside, in private, and swatted her bottom and proceeded to inform her to behave.

PLEASE READ THIS - "Never, NEver, NEVER spank, swat, or touch, your (or any) kid in a public skool."

The cops where there so fast you'd though I was a mass murder hold up there threatening to blow the place up. That night I was bailed out ($3,000 but got most of it back) by a dear friend and was short one kid for ten days. Long story short, I became the poster child for "Child Abuse Prevention Month" and spent the next 6 months and about 5 grand, staying outta jail and getting my kid back (permanent custody). Never did figure out why DHS would think the other two would be fine with such a scum bag child beaten dad?????

Two things really saved my butt.
1st a good lawyer, expensive, but worth every penny.
2nd a cheapo $100 camcorder.

I did end up pleading no contest to a 4th degree misdemeanor dis. conduct. some 4 months later and paid $50 fine + court cost to make the criminal part go away. The lawyer and my tape, although it wasn't considered evidence, convinced the prosecutor to drop the charges and offered the plea so I could cover the court cost. If it hadn't been so serious it would have been comical. But the plea was a lot cheaper that a long drawn out defense. In the end he really turned out to be a nice guy who was just going by what the DHS was tellin him.

The tape really help with family court and took the "your fault' part off of me. My daughter came home 10 days after the incident and I started parent counseling. Some 25 year old collage grad, not married, no kids, wanna have a beer after class kinda guy that spent more time talkin basket ball than anything, telling me how to be a good parent type class. After viewing the tape, the family counselor (a pretty bright lady) gave me a lot of info on "separation issues" (not havin mom around), and spent a good many hours with the girl. I went ahead and finished the class and completed the requirements of family court. Around month 5, I was "granted" custody rights and it was pretty much all over. I would have to say she (family counselor) was the only part of the DHS process that wasn't a joke and made my "someday find this person and thank them list".

After about a year or so, my daughter pop'd up and said, "you can't spank me". My reply was "wanna bet?". We've had a real good understanding ever since.

She is going on 16 now and although she has a few faults that drive me nuts (girl stuff), over all she is a very polite, courteous, and friendly young lady and makes dad very proud every day.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 14:47:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yeeks what a nightmare. But it all worked out in the end. My son has made lots of improvement as well. Between the ages of around two and ten, there is no reasoning with a kid. My son and I pretty much hated each other for the entire eight year period which broke my heart as he was such a wonderful baby. I didn't see this coming at all. Finally one day I sat down and explained to him about choices. He was acting on his impulses plain pure and simple. No thought about consequences. Bottom line boy, is you are going to make choices every day and you have to figure out what the best ones are...basically, whatever your instincts tell you to do, do the! Really though, I have to remind him of this EVERY SINGLE DAY, but he's come a long way. Bound to be a pill for it, but I just gritted my teeth and got through it. He's learning now how bad behavior can influence a 'girls' opinion of him. That helps too.

GregWis    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:55:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Speaking of Big Brother, the government is recording which website you are going to. Dont think so? Read the "Patriot" act. Do they have cameras in the bathrooms to catch the kids who are smoking in there? (do kids still do that??)

One other question to those in support of this: When will you feel safe??

slim    Posted 02-27-2003 at 11:10:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
I feel safe now. It's just this "rights" stuff that has turned into a kind of buzzword for me. As far as I know I have the rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the others in Bill of Rights, etc.

I'm of the opinion that I don't have the right to never be offended, looked at, made mad by anyone, have my self esteem hurt, or any other PC BS. If this was true I have had my "rights" violated many times on this site.



Stan ETenn    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:22:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'd think there'd have to be a balance somewhere. If there's been no problems, no camera. But if there are situations where there is not enough authority around then I'm for cameras. Old times we settled things sort of man to man. Today with the times we're in (school shootings, drugs, lax morals, etc.) we need to protect the children who are trying to do what they should. Heaven help us!

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:27:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
I firmly beleive that 'good' kids would huddle under those cameras at every available oportunity. If for nothing else but some type of protection.

Ana    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:48:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree with a lot of what you say, Cindi, but not this time. I see this as an excuse to take one more of our rights (not just the kids---that's just a beginning) and always for our own good. Eventually there will be cameras on every corner, in every "public" building, etc. for our "safety". I understand they tried it in London, but the people hated it so much that they were scaling it down (not getting rid of it, though). Once it's there---like taxes---- If people want to know what goes on in schools, let them come and sit in class. Aren't your schools open to that as long as you check in at the office? Just my humble opinion.

slim    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:13:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I lurk a lot and don't post very often, do read this site a lot and enjoy it a lot too. I usually try to keep quiet but this time a point has been raised that I have to ask a question about. What "right" is lost by putting up a camera? Do I really have a right to not be viewed on a camera in a public place such as a school classroom, hallway, cafeteria, school playground, etc? Do I have a right not to be looked at by another student, teacher, or other staff member?

We do expect privacy in some public places, restrooms, dressing rooms, and the like. But in a truly public place where you are expected to be fully clothed and acting like a civilized human being, I think you have no such "right".

Notice that I stress public place. I feel things are entirely different at your home.

Just MHO.


Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:25:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
See that's where I'm at too. I'm still wanting an explanation. There was a reference made to George Orwell. I hate to admit it but I am not familiar with his writings. I never have been into political writers. May be time to look into it.

Ana    Posted 02-27-2003 at 15:47:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ok, I make it a point to never reply to these discussions because they frequently result in hurt feelings and name calling, but you and slim want to know what right is being given up here, and it's really a very important right. The right to be treated with respect as a law-abiding citizen (innocent until proven guilty of something). Even police have to honor this basic right---they can't detain you, search you, question you without due cause. But to take this to a personal level (back to the cameras in school), try this experiment: try watching whoever you are with constantly---it won't take long until he/she wants to know what you are up to. Don't try watching strangers in this manner as they might become violent with you (that's how important this basic right is). Also try video-taping yourself over eight hours, now give this video to anyone that wants it, have the kids give it away at school, or put the monitor out where strangers passing by can stop and view it. Do you like this idea? Is it any better in a "public place"? Have you ever been followed? Probably not, but let me tell you it doesn't take long before you feel harrassed, intimiated, and fearful. In my opinion, to be treated as a law-abiding citizen (or student) that has done nothing wrong, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights we should guard very closely. And someone (especially someone in authority) watching you constantly sure infringes upon those rights. Can you respect my right to have this point of view?

slim    Posted 02-28-2003 at 06:02:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi is right that there is a major difference between being "tailed" and cameras. That's why there are stalking laws. But I still don't see what "right" is given up or even what law is violated by cameras in public places.

Oh and yes I do respect you having a different point of view and being able for us to discuss this like adults and not resorting to name calling like some. I do respect that.

I just don't have a problem with cameras as long as I can expect privacy in areas where an average person expects privacy. Cameras are everywhere, supermarkets, Wal-Mart, gas stations, quick stores, you name it. They are a way of life. If they bother you, maybe you need to work to change the present laws regarding them. That really is a basic right, the right to work through our system to change things for the better.

Off soapbox now and I won't say anything else about this. Been nice "talking" with you.


Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 20:32:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Of course I respect your view and your right to have it. I have had three kids in public school over the past ten years and every one of them has been harrassed, picked on, bullied, stolen from, and physically attacked over those years. Out of numerous incidents, maybe three or four have been reacted to by school officials.

Usually because those incidents were fairly serious and I camped out in the school office and demanded something be done. You mentioned the police and our rights of not being questioned or detained without reason. It's the rights of the perpetrators that come into play in these situations. 'We did not see it, therefore we cannot react.'

How do you teach justice to a child when their rights are regularly violated with no retribution. My son is bitter and cynical about school and authority figures. Why? Because he doesn't get satisfaction from authority figures, and when he fights back he is reprimanded. Always falls back to no proof. He said, she said.

In kindergarten he had his new school supplies stolen the first day of school. He knew who took them and reported it. The teacher's response was....'shhh....his family has no money, I have crayons you can use, maybe your mother can buy you some more over the weekend.' Horrible lesson in economics and injustice for a five year old.

It's only gone downhill from there and the older they get, the bigger the insults become. If I had made a scene I would have been viewed as dramatic, stingy and most likely racist, and would have had to demean everyone, myself included, in order to prove my son was telling the truth.

Had this event been documented I could calmly approach school officials and say you see what has been done, please make it right. The only reason I mention this incident is because it was his first day of school. There have been tons others, but he started his school carrer being stolen from and had no satisfaction. It set a terrible precedent.

If you know a better way to solve this problem I would be happy to listen to it. I think there is a major difference between being 'tailed' all day and having a camera in use in a public area. We are just going to disagree this point I think. It depends a lot on personal experience, don't you think. It's just one of those things, I guess. I have no hard feelings and certainly would never call names. Too juvenile right? Lol! Have a wonderful night.

slim    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:45:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
I didn't read it but it was 1984. You have probably heard the expression Big Brother is Watching You. Came from there.

In essence big brother is already watching you. Your neighbors see you, your co-workers, people on the street, in the store, etc. But not in your own home or other reasonable places you expect privacy. What's the difference between a camera and a set of eyes. Cameras are a lot more reliable than an eyewitness account.


Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:56:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sure I can do that, but to my thirteen year old son and half his freinds it looks like 'mommy protection' and makes it worse. Please explain to me how being in a public place and being observed by hundreds of people anyway and being on camera at the same time is an invasion of privacy. I am being very sincere here, I honestly don't understand. I may be way out of line here but please, tell me what I'm missing. I am serious.

Colin in WI    Posted 02-27-2003 at 07:44:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You may be rightfully concerned about the behavior of high school kids these days but compromising their right to live without constant surveillance is not a constructive response to the issue. I'm not certain that their actions today are much worse than those of my contemporaries 30 years ago in the face of much greater challenges. I'm also not certain that spending thousands of dollars on surveillance technology at the cost of teachers, aides and books is the choice I'd make. Let's figure out how to treat our high schoolers more respectfully and perhaps our example would be returned with more respectful behavior by them relative to parents and the institutions they are attending.

How would you react to having a camera trained on you and recording your every move throughout the day?

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:21:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, honestly speaking I wouldn't really care. That's the truth. I don't get what the problem is. If I'm not doing anything wtong then why would I care if I'm being recorded/observed. Many public places have these cameras on and you never even know it. If I break a law and get caught on tape then shame on me. I am not focusing on high schools. Any school would be fine with me. There are far too many instances of he said she said, seems like a quick fix to me. Say there's one kid who is being picked on every day by another group of kids. Constant abuse. If these kids know they are on tape, maybe they would stop, which might just prevent a Columbine type incident. Your thoughts on that?

Greg VT    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:59:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't know...

It seems to me it's just another step in the evolution of our schools from learning institutions to day care facilities.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:27:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't know, in a day care facility there are government laws regarding the student teacher ratio. Once in public school you may have as many as thirty kids assigned to one teacher. A camera can be a second set of eyes for the teahcher or the hall monitor. I'm telling you, if kids knew or even suspected that they might be documented in some mischief they would cease and desist picking fights, picking on others, vandalism, etc. At least school officials would be able to say 'we know for a fact you did this', you're out. Come back when you can behave. Banks, convenience stores, ATM's, grocery stores, the list goes on. Half the time I don't even know the cameras are there and could care less.

I see what your saying...    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:46:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
I just think the responsibility for kids behavioral issues should be placed where it belongs. With their parents, not on the backs of taxpayers and at the expense of our school budgets.

I know I'm probably dreaming but I aint quite ready to give up yet.


Greg VT

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:03:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know, I know. It's a hateful thought. I have just run into too many parents who take their kids word as gospel without nary a thought that they might have had a bad day and smacked somebody in the back of the head with a book.

Stan ET    Posted 02-27-2003 at 10:33:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've got to go with Cindi on this. Cameras are not giving up. They are just another tool to give our good kids a chance and maybe straighten out some kids that are out of line. I don't have kids and it saddens me to think there are children being abused and nothing is being done about it.


Aalt    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:02:06       [Reply]  [No Email]

Right on Greg VT

37 D*Ont.

Mac/MS    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:31:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I think cameras in schools are good ideas. If student know they are being watched they should be on their best behavior. (keeps bank tellers straight) Of course no amount of prevention will work if parents take up for their kids when they do wrong. I grew up in a school system that applied the paddle when you were didn't abide by the rules. Knowing I would get my butt busted kept me out of a lot of trouble and taught me to follow rules....not that I always did but I knew what it was going to cost.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:31:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
If a parent is supplied with taped evidence they can't argue. My kid's school still uses the paddle. It requires three witnesses in the room when it is applied but Jake (my son) has had a taste of it. I gave the school permission to use it. I get a phone call once or twice a year, Jake was in a fight, both boys can get three licks or they can be suspended. Hmmmm...let me see....let him come home and lay on his lazy bum or use the paddle. No contest. Then he gets is again when he gets home.

Mac/MS    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:20:45       [Reply]  [Send Email]
My mother gave it to me also. Said I knew better that I wasn't raise that way. I love her to for it.

Sorry...    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:10:24       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Can't say as I see any purpose to cameras in school...

Seems like yet another 'Feel Good' step instead of teaching the kids how to read and add...

Lets toss some more money at technology...ayuh...there's a good idea...

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:35:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ever heard a parent say 'my child wouldn't do that!'. Most times they are the ones whose child WOULD do that. Because they know mom and dad would never beleive it.

Salmoneye    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:01:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Explain to me again how cameras will prevent a person/persons from entering a building, willy-nilly executing people, and then killing themselves?...That is exactly what happened in Columbine...

Explain to me why this part is a good idea:

"Not only can the comings and goings of the 350 teenagers at the two public charter schools here be watched from a monitor in a small room next to the main building's reception area, but they can also be seen remotely over the Internet."

Yah...I want every pedophile with a computer and a little hacking experience to be watching my children in school...Good idea there...

This is simply a 'feel-good' thing that the Administration can point to and say...'See...We Care and we are doing something'...

As for cameras have heard of George Orwell I assume...

I'm going back to my sugar shack now...where there will also be cameras...but at least that is my choice...

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:15:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Without exception, almost every case of school sniping has been traced back to abuse at the hands of other students and sometimes even faculty. They almost always tend to be a 'get even' event. I say almost, because I personally have never hear of one that hasn't steemed from that, but there may be some. With cameras, this could be nipped in the bud. My kids have reported such abuse to school officials and were basically advised to 'walk it off, it happens, and we can't prove it, maybe you asked for it.'

If I was the principal and I had a monitor on my desk and I saw a student enter a room with a gun and start shooting. I would send an all call to the entire school to lock doors and move away from windows.

Pedophiles, should God strike them dead, can sit across the street fom a public school or playground, mall, video arcade, or anywhere else for that matter, swimming pool, beach etc, and take hundred of very close up pictures with a long range lens. The only way to stop them is catch them. If they are hacking into a secure site they increase the odds of that.

Oops...    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:11:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Did I say that out loud?


Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:38:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Lol! Yep you did.

John    Posted 02-27-2003 at 05:50:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
What does this subject got to do with the premise of this site?????

Walt    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:46:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't post very often on this site, but like other sites, you quickly learn who's post to skip by name alone.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:43:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
Amen Walt! You said a mouthful. The choice is always there. Wondering why you responded to my off topic post yesterday about computers. I'm glad you did though. Very useful information, thank you again.

Walt    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:02:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
That was another Walt, seems to be several on this board.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 09:16:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Oh, okay, my mistake.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 05:57:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Not a dang thing. It's kind of a followup on the kids fighting in school, the good old days, the way things change etc, kind of a flowing thread that's been going on the last day or so. Why? I have to assume that you don't approve. It all revolves around family, kids, life, etc. If no one finds it of any interest it will die a quiet death like most threads that don't apppeal to the majority. No need for you to try and kill it outright, but knock yourself out.

Randy    Posted 02-27-2003 at 06:05:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The reality of it is that it's sad that we need to spend the time and money on such things as cameras to watch over us. Could go for a lot of better uses. We, the highest forms of life need all the patrolling we can get it seems.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 08:53:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Back when kids were allowed to fight things out without law suits there was no need for cameras. But when Tommy says 'Joe picked a fight with me and knocked out my tooth' and Joe's mom and dad are faced with paying of hundreds of dollars in medical bills and risk being sued, wouldn't it be nice to have a tape that showed that Joe was defending himself against Tommy and Tommy's best freind John?

When a school bus driver tugs a child's sleeve to stop their movement becuase of bad behavior, wouldn't it be nice for the bus driver to show on tape why he tugged on that sleeve and maybe not have to go through the humiliation of an investigation?

I think the possibilites are endless. If you work or volunteer in the school system you see kids that are getting away with murder. The only thing that will help is evidence and a picture is worth a thousand words. Just MHO.

Pitch    Posted 02-27-2003 at 18:08:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think that this is a perfect reason for me living where I do. Our graduating classes never number more than 60 or 70 kids. The parents all know the teachers and the teacers all know us. The school board is made up of folks just like you and I probably no degree higher than a masters on the board so there aren't a lot of liberal PC agendas that are allowed to interfer with education of our children. I could not imagine sending one of my kids to one of these factories where they churn out thousands of dummies every year that can't read or write.

Cindi    Posted 02-27-2003 at 20:35:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
It's wonderful for you and your family that you can live in an area that has a school so small. The problems there are probably non-existant. We are not all so lucky.

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