Youth and Surveillance

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IT IS OFTEN SAID that Urbana Middle School,
as well as Urbana High School, are both
quite similar to what some people would
call “prison,” because of the tight security
measures enforced upon the students. For
example, facilitators walk through the halls
with large walkie-talkies, various “security
stations” are placed in each hallway to
check roaming students for passes, and in
the middle school, a new addition has
been added this year: surveillance cameras.
Students are taking opposing views on the
matter. “I believe security cameras are
essential in schools, and, possibly, we don’t
have them in enough locations,” says Rita
Haber, a sophomore at Urbana High
School. “For example, I’ve noticed that the
second floor hallway at Urbana High
School is the hallway with the most fighting
and bullying, as well as where the
highest level of public display of affection
(PDA) occurs. It doesn’t have security cameras
or hall monitors so much of this goes
by unnoticed.” Another student, Katie
Heinricher, says, “I don’t think that cameras
in school do that much. No one who
really wants to skip school is going to stop
and look for a camera before leaving. Also,
when fights break out, no one is watching
for a camera. It is usually pretty obvious
how fights start and camera footage seems
unnecessary. With other things such as
PDA, what’s the point? The staff isn’t going
to go up to a girl and say, ‘We saw you kissing
in the hallway on our security camera.’
Cameras are good in theory, but in reality,
they don’t help that much.” We must ask
ourselves: Do these cameras actually influence
a student’s decision, or are they simply
a waste of money for the school?

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