I’m probably one of the last people you’d ever expect to raise the “it’s for the children” argument for surveillance in schools, right?
But there’s a story out of New Jersey that’s all too familiar to me in my “irl” identity and work: disabled students are abused in school and because of their disabilities, cannot even communicate what’s going on to their parents.
I know of too many cases where kids were harmed by the abuse that is inflicted on them in school. In some cases, the harm is physical. In other cases, the harm is emotional. In some cases, it’s both.
Some students with disabilities have been restrained in chairs “for their own good” for hours on end. Some have been sent to “time out rooms” because they were verbally disruptive in class (likely because they couldn’t communicate what was really bothering them). Their parents – who may never have agreed to placing their child in the time-out room or physical restraint in a chair – often have no idea what could possibly be going on.
And some kids are arrested because of their symptoms and the school’s failure to learn how to handle them effectively and appropriately.
Some kids come home from school with bruises and when parents inquire, they’re told their child is clumsy and fell. Other times, the kids come home from school and may be sad or angry but can’t tell the parent about all the verbal abuse they were subjected to during the day – from the very adults who should have helped them and been kind to them. Or they can’t communicate that they were thrown into a time-out/isolation room for part of their time. Or that the bruise on their head is because they banged their head against the door of a time-out room in frustration and anguish.
Some have developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from their school experiences, and some have become suicidal.
The abuse of any student is despicable and unacceptable. Repeated abuse or maltreatment of disabled students warrants criminal charges, in my opinion.
But does the situation warrant in-school and/or in-class audiovisual surveillance – to protect the children?
Is this one of the exceptions for those of us who tend to argue against surveillance of children in school?
What do you think?