BENNETT: Transparency between admin, students expected




I would begin with “Big Brother is Watching,” but I’m afraid that is far too cliché, and currently rings inaccurate, seeing as, at present, the recently installed security cameras cannot even claim that feat.

After years of talk about implementation, and some instances of vandalism that confused people into thinking this was a good idea, cameras now loom over the halls under the guise of acting as a source of reference and/or a deterrent for crime.

It’s a pity that after all of that money and work, chances are the RHS campus layout still renders them essentially useless. In contrast to schools like Woodcreek that have an open quad, the architecture at Roseville is extremely complex and layered. To compensate, the school boasts a whopping 27 cameras.

Unfortunately, odds are high that many nooks and crannies remain hidden from the cameras’ watchful eyes – or fortunately, for anyone wishing to commit an unlawful act.

Regardless, cameras are a tragic misuse of newly attained Measure D funds. Some schools in the area are using their allotments to fund solar panels and programs demonstrably beneficial to their students, but not Roseville.

The fact that all we have done is buy security cameras just rubs salt into the wound.

Instead of funding projects to improve students’ high school experience, we have procured devices to monitor and record our everyday activities in full-color video and audio.

I applaud the powers that be for finding the single protective measure that is capable of both infringing on students’ privacy and being entirely ineffective at the same time.

And finally, the unavoidable issue of privacy rears its ugly head. Full-color video is already violating enough, recording and saving every student’s menial actions.

But at least that might be slightly justified by the recent incidents of vandalism. Recording audio, however, takes it a step further, capturing people’s conversations as well and storing them for future access.

Recording audio for any reason oversteps the bounds of privacy by promoting the message “beware what you say at school – it can and will be used against you.”

Still, as of now, the cameras will not be monitored 24/7, so it is not a true Big Brother situation.

However, the path to the realm of 1984 is a slippery slope, not an instant change. The current use of security cameras might be harmless, but it can easily transform into something more sinister if people begin to rely on them for answers to minor situations.

There is a fine line between responsible use of security cameras and abuse – one so undefined that it is safer to avoid the issue altogether.

But, if you are going to infringe upon students’ privacy, the least you can do is dispel the ambiguity surrounding the use of the cameras.

For instance, how long will the video be stored? Where will the information go? Who is watching it – and equally relevant, who is watching the watchers to prevent misuse?

This information should be readily available to every curious student.

With an open process, the cameras would still be ineffective, but at least students would know what they are getting into each time they step onto the campus, establishing some semblance of integrity in the system.