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Notes: (1) Cross-posted on the IDEA website (Institute for Democratic Education in America), and (2) This is a first attempt at a Daily Kos diary and I welcome help from the tagging experts on board. :o)

The other day, I made a suggestion in the comments of Brainwrap’s excellent diary (2/22/10) on the latest developments in the evolution of the Pennsylvania school district tale known in the dkos community as ‘WebCamGate’. In short, the district is being sued by the parents of a student who was disciplined by his school for something he must have done in his bedroom at home. How did they come to understand this alleged infraction of some rule? Seems the laptop computer in his bedroom belongs to the school and had within it the capacity with its cam technology to record said alleged infraction. "A clusterf*ck," writes Brainwrap.

In my comment, I recommended that dkos readers check out the trailer of a documentary...

More on 'The War On Kids' below the fold...

...directed by Cevin Soling called "The War On Kids" for an in-depth look at the oppression of children in our current authoritarian educational settings.

I had purchased a copy of the documentary and watched it several times, each time becoming more and more alarmed with the authoritarian tactics being used on our children in public schools.

In the documentary, Dan Losen, Civil Rights Project at Harvard University (now at UCLA), describes current authoritarian tactics and says that these kinds of ...

"...unyielding authoritarian approaches are alienating students not only from their schools but also from the concept of being part of a democracy. They are not getting the message that being part of society is something that includes them, giving respect to their voices, their concerns, their interests. This disrespect gets translated into discipline policies."

Then to my chagrin later that day (2/23/10), the same day I recommended the documentary, I came across an article online on the website of the Statesman Journal, our local paper in Salem, Oregon, entitled "Officers to stay on school grounds: Council renews contract with police." It begins:

"Eleven Salem Police officers will continue to walk the halls at a number of Salem-Keizer schools...."

Houston, we have a problem...

‘The War On Kids’ documentary begins with Judith Browne, Co-Director of The Advancement Project, talking about how authoritarian policies escalated into what they are today. It started, she says, with the wars on drugs and the worries about guns. The clamp down on children evolved into a "fear of children." Terms like "super predator" were used and under ‘zero tolerance policies’ potential weapons of mass destruction could be found in a butter knife, a tweety bird chain, a cuticle cutter clip, a key fob, all leading to children being expelled from school.

Dr. Henry A. Giroux, Professor, McMaster University (Author of Stealing Innocence: Corporate Culture’s War On Children) tells about a ten year old boy who stole $2, was arrested and charged with a felony and spent two weeks in jail.

The systems are referring youngsters to the authorities for trivial infractions of the rules, adding enforcement officers on the campuses who are intervening... and arresting kids and taking them away for often minor kinds of violations in which a simple shoving match is now an assault, possibly a felony assault.... The harshness of these policies is not only contributing to the incarceration of youth but, by their removal, from being active participants in our democracy.

There are many more examples in the film. John W. Whitehead, President of The Rutherford Institute, reports of hundreds of cases. He’s helped with the defense of the kids: a child suspended several days for violating the zero tolerance policy against drugs for having ‘Scope’ at school; girls having ‘Midol’ in their purses; a child having ‘Alka Seltzer’; a child just joking around draws a gun at school (draws with a pencil!) and shows a friend...all were suspended from school. A young girl, a good student, passed a nail file to a friend across the isle who wanted to clean her nails with it. She was thrown out of school for a year and three months. Do we need to go on? How about the four Kindergarten boys playing cops and robbers with their fingers as guns? They are thrown out of school for violating a zero tolerance weapons policy.
Back to the articlein the Salem paper (actually in a side bar on the page next to the article), we learn some of the history of having the officers in the local schools:

The earliest time a Salem Police officer was placed on school assignment was in 1969. It's unclear to which school the officer was assigned. A federal grant paid for the cost. Salem Police became a constant presence at Salem-Keizer schools in the late 1980s, when the district began supplementing the cost.

And from the reporter’s account:

It's difficult to pin down the number of student referrals made by school resource officers to the Marion County Juvenile Department for the 2008-09 school year. Salem and Keizer Police and the Marion County Sheriff's Office all have school officers who may overlap on juvenile cases.

After all that time in the schools and the system finds it "difficult to pin down the number of referrals made by school resource officers" to the Juvenile Department? Is that not strange?

But, never fear,

"... the district's spokesman, called law enforcement a "tremendous ally" at schools. "They are a very big partner, and part of the team in the education of our young people."

My question is: What do the youngsters think about all these authoritarian enforcement resources at school? If they are anything like those interviewed by the producers of "The War On Kids," they don’t like it.

And I haven’t written anything about the cameras located everywhere... watching hallways, classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias, libraries, gyms, buses. "It’s creepy," says a teen girl in the film, always having people watching all the time. She says she puts her head down in the halls and walks straight to class so that no one can mistakenly suspect her of doing something wrong. Imagine living like that day to day.

A student in the documentary talks of "friends who cry themselves to sleep at night and wish they were dead." He doesn’t appear to think of the enforcement resources and oppressive atmosphere as helpful to his education.

I think we should be taking a leaf from Tyrone Howard’s book, actually from his paper published in the Teachers College Record -- "Who Really Cares? The Disenfranchisement of African American Males in PreK-12 Schools: A Critical Race Theory Perspective," 2008. (Executive Summary, fee for full text.)

Howard makes the point that we really don't know what the African American male is experiencing in school. Research perspectives ought, he writes, to include interviewing the youngsters in order to allow them to "offer counterstorytelling accounts of their schooling experiences." The information already gathered in this way, he asserts, shows a dramatic amount of racial prejudice evidenced in the lives of the African American males which is going unnoticed in mass media and educational research.

I am suggesting the same kind of research is necessary to determine whether the statement quoted in the article in the February 23rd issue of the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, is true.

"... the district's spokesman, called law enforcement a "tremendous ally"..."... in the education of our young people."

I think we need some "counterstorytelling accounts" from the ones who know the real inside skinny before we understand whether that statement is true.


A personal note: I cannot look at the documentary without sobbing during the last clip before the credits. We see a young African American girl of maybe 7 or 8 years old sitting in what seems to be outside the principal’s office. She is dressed nicely and has lovely bows on her pigtails, but is not happy. Her eyes are cast down, her lower lip protruding. As we watch, two police officers come from either side of the camera and begin to move the child in a way as to allow them to pull her arms behind her back so they can put the handcuffs, we can now see they have, on her wrists. The child struggles a bit at first and then screams...a bloodcurdling scream. I cannot get that scream out of my mind. It hurts and that comes from an old lady who has watched ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ at least 20 times. Danny Boyle’s tale is pretend; this is not.
Of the "Lessons" in the documentary, as the film’s segments are called, the first three of importance to this discussion are "Zero Tolerance," "School Security," and the "War on Drugs." Other lessons might be topics for other another time: Pharmaceutical Drugs; Public Education; Homework; and Socialization.

I see on the ‘The War On Kids’ website that the documentary will be shown at Tufts University in Medford, MA on April 7th and Cevin Soling and the documentary will be featured at the AERO Conference in Albany, NY on June 25th.

Originally posted to Sapere aude on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 01:24 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Many of us parents have gone overboard... (13+ / 0-)

    clamoring for "safe space" for our kids, to the point that a society could outlaw tree-climbing by kids (at least in public venues) because one kid fell out of tree and died.  As our kids get to the age (maybe 4 or 5) when they can start functioning without constant adult supervision we have to accept some risks and dangers to them or they will never have the liberty to develop the agency they need to be effective adults, particularly in a democratic society, where agency is at a premium.

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 02:51:26 PM PST

  •  Gotta condition them for the coming police state (7+ / 0-)

    all according to plan once the democrats fuck up their brief majorities yet again.

    Game Over. The corporations win. And they will take us all down with their greed.

    by The Dead Man on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:29:08 PM PST

    •  Indeed... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, trashablanca, FarWestGirl

      ...oh please not again.

      Sapere aude: Dare to know; to think for yourself; to be wise. I. Kant "What is Enlightenment?"

      by Sapere aude on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:38:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, it's worth giving that view some (12+ / 0-)


        Just for perspective, I came up through High School during the dawn of the mini-computer.

        We had talks about the potential for control, read books like 1984 and laughed it off, wondering how the people would ever tolerate such things.

        When I look back at the time then, and I see the level of control possible now, the one thing that rang true was a High School Social Studies teacher overhearing one day, who took the time to comment:

        Where the potential for control exists, it will be employed, unless checked by the people.

        That teacher was right about that, and he's the guy who taught us strong liberal, free thinker, founding fathers type stuff.

        The guy is still alive.  I should go close that loop.  I can't help but wonder what he would have to say today.

        People write this stuff off as "tin foil hat" kinds of stuff.  To a point, that's fair.  But, after the shit the last administration wanted to do, that we know about mind you, is there any doubt as to the powerful, wealthy and corporate influence on the world, and how the kind of education and childhood we had (if you are old enough) stands in stark contrast with their best interests?


        by potatohead on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:33:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The number of things I did as a kid (13+ / 0-)

    that would have gotten me arrested if a child did them in school today . . . I don't even think I can count.  When I was six the local high school teacher taught a group of us to make bombs in the back yard of the library.  Today he'd probably be arrested too.

    Just for the record, I never became I mad bomber.  I did learn a great respect for chemical reactions and a love of science that continues to serve me well.

    It does make me wonder how the environment of intimidation relates to poor test scores.

    "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground." - Fredrick Douglass

    by Strange New World on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 03:43:34 PM PST

    •  In the documentary (7+ / 0-)

      it is noted that there is no data showing scores increase and learning is enhanced with higher levels of enforcement personnel in the schools.

      Sapere aude: Dare to know; to think for yourself; to be wise. I. Kant "What is Enlightenment?"

      by Sapere aude on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:00:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember reading books on the Bill of Rights (6+ / 0-)

      in 4th grade.

      Inspired by a cop show where I heard somebody get read their Miranda rights, and then a couple days later a classmate was taken to the principal's office for "talking out of turn".


      Today she'd go to jail and I'd be expelled.

      And that doesn't even count the years with a penknife in my jeans pocket....

      Texas is NO Bush League! LBJ, Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:38:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It goes back a long way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm a pre-boomer (slightly), but I remember in 1953, in a rural area in second grade a teacher freaked out because some of us boys brought in a shotgun shell, found on the ground, expended. Even I, at age 7,8 or whatever, knew the difference between a loaded shotgun shell and a used one.

        And this was a three room schoolhouse serving 4 grades (multiple grades per teacher was common, like first and second grade), you'd think that the teachers had some grasp of the reality of the community in which they lived and worked, in which everyone hunted. In high school, boys taking off the first day of deer season was understood, and this was the northeast...

        I had a teacher for first grade who was trained in the teens and twenties, a classic spinster teacher, who routinely used a ruler on our knuckles if she didn't like something. Think the first blues brothers movie and "the penguin".

        My mother, an educated NY liberal, became president of the school board solely to change the Calvinist concept of administering corporal punishment in schools. It was uphill all the way, the 50 yr old 8th grade level farmers who still whipped their mules and their children, against a 29 year old woman, an "outsider", trying to explain what was wrong with that picture.

        Schools have always been authoritorian, but in the old days it was religious culture and victorianism  passed down. Nowadays it's political correctness, and zero-tolerance "cover your ass" policies, from poorly trained supervisors and administrators.

        And no boy that I knew would go anywhere without a penknife...(they were, in fact, useful for sharpening pencils, something we did a lot...)

        Without geometry, life is pointless.

        by blindcynic on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 01:42:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  it's not about education (14+ / 0-)

    It's about bringing the authoritarian right wing model of the universe to America's public education system.  It will fail miserably there just as it has failed everywhere else.  Look to your local school boards.  Get the fundies off them.

    Words will always retain their power -V

    by studentofhistory on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 04:27:52 PM PST

  •  I grew up as a "free range" kind of kid, and (12+ / 0-)

    I find this growing trend absolutely morbid.

    We are supposed to be building our future citizens, and to be able to trust them with our old age.

    Here's a sampling of a few of the things I did in late Grade School:

    Learned to cut down trees with an axe, and split most of the wood we used for heat.

    Took apart every thing I had, going to the library to find out what the things were, how they worked, why they worked.

    Fixed the fan in the Library.

    Fixed the TV in the 5 grade viewing room.

    Rode a fine stallion to the absolute limit, enjoyed it, gave him an apple and a rest, then did it again!

    Kissed my first girlfriend.

    Made recordings of my home, during a family time to be played back later for memories.

    Built my first custom bike.

    Rode a motorcycle.

    Spent the night in the woods with a friend, flashlight, fire, and tent.

    Built and used a blow-dart gun.

    Went shooting "for fun" both archery and real guns.

    Trained some of the farm animals.

    Grew stuff.

    Learned to read most simple music.

    Brought actual tools to school, and worked on projects over lunch with friends.

    Later, in High School

    Programmed games in assembly language, just for fun.

    Did TV repair for date money.

    Built wooden toys, with real machines that can cut stuff off, sold them in the local "farmers market"

    Built a 100,000 Volt "Jacobs Ladder" mad scientist style spark gap, just because it was fucking cool.

    Obtained my HAM radio license, which I let lapse.  (I know, dumbass, I'll get it back soon)

    Stayed for nearly a week out in the woods, alone.

    Exceeded 50 Mph on a custom bike, built from parts found around the neighborhood.

    Tweaked CB radios for truckers for date money.

    Bought, fixed, and drove my first car.

    Ran one hell of a "Dungeons and Dragons" campaign, despite the horrors of it being broadcast at the time.

    Went hunting with my own rifle, and dealt with every aspect of that from the kill to food on the table.

    Taught computer languages my last two years.

    Directed the school chorus, from sheet music to performance.

    Performed in many theatre productions, while doing lights, sounds, and building sets and effects.

    Blew some stuff up proper, with real explosives, complete with fuse, as part of clearing some land for a friends fathers new house.

    Worked in the TV shop, metal shop, wood shop...

    Got into trouble for damming a creek, stopping irrigation down stream.  Oh well, the damn was bad ass.

    Topped 75 foot trees to make antennas.  Climbed same trees to collect seed cones for gas money.

    And countless adventures out side, often all day long, eating what we found growing, not returning home until it got cold, dark, or both.

    For many of my peers, a lot of things on this list are things I saw them do.  Some of the "fix it", computer type stuff is just my particular niche, but the rest is what people did, what kids did.

    Now, it's scary.  They've removed most anything that can actually do something material from the schools, and have watered down the programs so that it's all just facts, discussion and tests.  

    My parents did similar things.  They came out of public school with skills that could actually do things of value.  Many of us went to college, but if somebody didn't, they still could do way more than, "would you like fries with that?", nearly all of them forming vital parts of the community as they grew, replacing those that came before.

    Now, as the replacements are taking shape, I'm worried because people are not self-sufficient, not all that free of thinkers, and have not had EXPERIENCES that shape them, build character, challenge them, and teach them real human limits, not just the artificial "safe" ones.

    Know what?  We did stuff as kids.  A few kids got really hurt, and that's bad.  But a whole lot of us didn't, and that's good!  

    With my own kids, while they were young, we did "free range" time, and I got called on it as a parent many times, each time thinking those people are just nuts, unaware of the harm they do, while trying to prevent harm.

    And socialization...  don't even get me started.  The constant watching of every move, using the threat of totalitarian technology where we would use norms is a big mistake.  We will produce people, who can function within parameters, but might not function all that well outside of them, and it's that outside known parameters that makes the differences in life, creates opportunities, and makes us "free people" in the very best, American sense.

    We will look back and ask, "what have we done?", I swear.

    Not all of my childhood was safe, nice, pretty.  In fact, lots of it was really, really ugly.  But, we all turned out fine --arguably more fine than many of the kids I see today, who can't actually DO things, and more importantly, kids who have no idea what DOING WHAT IT TAKES actually means.

    One more thing too.  We didn't have computers and compelling TV's then, though I did have video games.  Life had enough texture to not let those things dominate, and today that's far less true, and with that comes poorly set expectations, and when they are not met, violence, suicide, anger, and pain.

    As a kid, and into young adult hood, I had to face down a fight, somebody with a knife, and my own father with a gun at age 22!  (he was on the run for a felony crime, abusing the family, and I was the one to have to talk him down and resolve that)

    When somebody shoved somebody then, the usual taunts, and anger manifested, sometimes a fight!  The difference is our principle managed the school by walking around, and wouldn't think twice over stepping into a mess, grabbing a few errant teens by something painful, dragging them out and asking them just who the hell they thought they were.  I actually feared that guy, and it was because he meant business, and everybody knew that, and that he meant it for the right reasons.

    Today, it's the police, courts, criminal records and way too much accountability with no where near the capacity to actually carry the responsibility that comes along for that.  The end product is so silly that I see kids literally tune out, laughing at the inability of the system to impact them in any way!

    The wrong words said can mark a kid for life now, where before it meant an angry teen, and some hard, personal, up front conversation to get things sorted out.  Back then the wrong words said meant some work, and a highly likely heart felt apology, facing some actual issues, full on in a way that builds character.

    Today, the wrong words are often just the ticket to escape the oppression, and maybe just go experience the world a little, and is there any wonder kids are acting out?  Any wonder ADULTS are acting out after having to face the reality through such a filtered, marginalized set of growing up expectations?

    Today educators are largely barred from really interacting with the kids.  Then, I learned some of the very best things from the teachers we could talk to, ask real questions of, and they were not afraid to actually give answers instead of the bland generic statements often given today, for the threat of the attorneys, liability, and rampant fear and need to control draining the system of the very things needed to build character, people, and realize experiences that will matter.

    I had teachers look me in the eye, realize I was serious and able to handle it, and they TOLD ME SHIT.  THEY TOLD ME STUFF THAT MATTERS, and I listened, took it, and ran with it, thankful and able to tell you which ones actually knew stuff, real life stuff, and were willing, able, and brave enough to share it to those kids brave enough, aware enough to actually ask.

    This diary triggered some strong feelings and memories, and that's the brain dump for today.

    I don't know what else to say, other than I don't like the authoritarian trend, just as much as I don't like the "keep them safe at all costs" trend either.

    I do know we will absolutely regret some of the things done right now, but it will take a whole cycle of people growing up in that, clashing with real life, living to become parents, and then ideally, take their kids down a different path.


    by potatohead on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:20:19 PM PST

  •  Our libraries use the security guards as (10+ / 0-)

    part time librarians, checking out books. It creeps me out.

  •  Well, thanks again to the Rescue Rangers for (13+ / 0-)

    calling our attention to this outstanding diary. Important stuff. I will try to get a look at the film of which you have written. The students get to me if they make it through those earlier schools. Good to know what the survivors have been through. Thanks.

    Yet another food diary... What two people have for dinner: My 365 Dinners

    by pixxer on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 09:37:01 PM PST

  •  I agree that this dates to the late 60s (10+ / 0-)

    My mother was what would be a "fundamentalist Christian" today and was, I think really frightened by the demonstrations and riots she saw on TV.

    She failed to understand the point of view of her daughter, who loved skipping class to go to the anti-war demos. who hated her all-white school, and wished she could have gone to the only integrated school in the city. Who smoked pot because it was interesting. Who learned that sex was fun.

    She felt that control was what was needed, and tried for it by searching my room and clothing. By confronting the boyfriend and forcing talk of marriage.  By withdrawing financial support.

    The dogma of religion gave her comfort. She modeled commitment to her values, but at the cost of our relationship for 20 years, and perhaps the cost of her marriage.

    Reagan's election signaled frightening changes in tolerance.

    •  To quote Nixon "My mother was a saint' (6+ / 0-)

      Born in 1921, she was of the same generation.  Not religeous, a liberal school teacher, she acted similalarly as a mother.  I was much younger than any of her contemporary's children (She was in her mid forties when I was born) she had much cause to question my choices (like any mother).  She upgraded her teaching certificate in 1971, and although she sympathyzed with the protesters, she had a family to consider, and kept us in the dark.  At age 7 I still believed "Vietnam" was a sexual position because it was quickly shot down as a topic for discussion when children were present.  This was not a political or religeous issue, but a generational one.

      "The arc of the universe is long, but it bends to justice."

      by eieio nyc on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:38:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  let's get federal funding (5+ / 0-)

    to insure equal education in public schools throughout the U. S. and then promise equal protection balanced with student rights. "Local control" means discrimination and foments "class warfare" when middle class+  whites opt for private schools in low revenue districts/ states.

    "The arc of the universe is long, but it bends to justice."

    by eieio nyc on Fri Feb 26, 2010 at 10:09:40 PM PST

  •  It's the parents, stupid. (0+ / 0-)

    Nice rant about our floundering schools and perhaps reasonable; but in the real world you must consider the possibility that the root cause of this problem may just lie with the vast number of single-parent homes and in the growing number of homes where both parents work -- leaving latch-key-kids.  Kids are left to find their role models in society from the television and, worse, video games.  Educators have them for 6 hours a day. Who's driving the bus for the remaining 18 hours a day?

    If war is the answer; what is the question?

    by OB1 on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 03:08:25 AM PST

    •  And you have to consider that the conservative (0+ / 0-)

      agenda that's made two and three income families necessary so that parents don't have the time to parent their kids is at least partly at fault. To say nothing of the fact that conservatives and evangelical wingnuts have been trying for decades now to kill public education by starving it or by any other means necessary to make sure that they have an ignorant, hostile populace to 'manage' for their own benefit.

      Unless of course, you're a troll.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 11:53:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not just the kids getting sent to jail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArthurPoet, FarWestGirl

    As a parent, I'm constantly afraid that I'm going to be sent to jail for endangerment just because I want to let my child do something that I did as a kid.

    It's crazy.  I did dangerous stuff when I was a kid.  Every kid I knew did.  We lived.  We learned.  Sometimes we got hurt, but we survived and learned the limits of our ability and how to manage risk.

    Today, kids are not allowed to do it, and parents are ridiculed (or worse) if they try to allow their kids to do it.

    As far as the schools go, I think people with authoritarian tendencies are drawn to those positions, much like they are drawn into other positions where they can impose their authority on others.

    This is why I spend $20k a year to send my kids to private school.  I am fortunate to have the means to do this.  It makes me sad and angry that I feel I have to do so.

  •  This is more disturbing than I can possibly say. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I knew there were problems, but I did not realize it was this bad. But, given this webcamgate incident, sadly, I can't say I am surprised to read of the pervasive abuse in so many of our schools, from those who are charged and entrusted with the safe care and nurturing of our young, of our children! I shudder to think of the damage that has been done. I am disgusted and appalled. This documentary is very troubling, and I haven't even watched it yet. And this webcamgate story .... this webcamgate story gives me serious and profound concern. It indicates not only an extreme abuse of authority ... but much much worse, it represents an abuse of authority filled with an arrogant presumption of impunity. And I ask you, from whence comes such arrogance? Consider -- this arrogant presumption of impunity is the only thing that could explain the stupidity of a school official who would wantonly OPENLY engage in such invasion of privacy of minors, of CHILDEN! Consider this deeply --- they have done this, thinking they are above prosecution for such activity. Consider --- they not only made no attempt to hide their activity, they actually wanted to use it, openly, publicly, without fear, trying to punish a child, to instill fear in the child, and all the while, (in their abuse of authority) they have become perverted "Peeping Tom" .... They didn't even stop once to consider that they were invading a child's privacy -- they didn't even stop once to consider that what they were doing was wrong --- immoral --- they didn't even stop once to consider that they could go to prison for such activity. They have secretly watched the child's most private moments ... in the child's bedroom, or maybe even the bathroom! What have these school officials seen? What have they recorded? And who all has seen them? How many copies where made? When? Where? How often? How many times? For how long? How many times where these videos watched? By WHOM? And who knew of this illegal PEEPING TOM activity and said nothing to the police? These are children, undressing, naked, bathing, or who knows what --- praying or sobbing or whatever, dealing with whatever personal issues that children face, and all the while, these children are being watched by these PEEPING TOMS --- every single private personal moment: 


    Do you have any idea how violated these innocent children must feel --- emotionally scarred for life? Did these school officials ever stop once to consider this? Even for a minute? NO! Invasion of a child's bedroom? Has it come to this that they actually thought this was okay? .... These are fucking school officials! Has it truly come to this, that they, who are to be the guardians of our young do not know right from wrong? We are talking about the violation of the privacy, the very sanctity, of a child's bedroom. Can you inagine the nightmares, the scars upon these children's innocent trusting vulnerable psyche. Consider --- how exposed and violated these children must feel? Can you imagine? Children have been watched, tape recorded, by who knows what kind of sick and perverted ilk. This represents a betrayal of the worst kind. I am sickened beyond compare. These people should be investigated to see the true full extent of their abuse and not merely sued in a civil liability lawsuit --- but a criminal offense. These school officials are vile scum and an example should be made of them for all the world to see, not just as punishment for the immediate offense, though this no doubt well and justifiably deserves it, but also, far more than this, so that a precedent is set, so that no other school official gets the stupid idea that they can invade the sanctify of a child's home, wantonly and with impunity --- but even more than this, and most importantly, so that a loud resounding and unmistakeably clear message is sent far and wide to every single child in our nation, that they are safe from such sick souls. And, that if they are ever abused in this manner, the perpetrators of these crimes will be punished, punished with imprisonment so that the sick abusers of authority can live out their days in prison, robbed of the very freedom they would rob from our young --- exposed for what they are. Let us be clear, these abusers of authority wield the brutal hammer of fear, praying upon the vulnerable nature of our innocent young. There is no greater offense than this! The fact that this one glaring event occurred is indicative of a glaring sentiment, this assumption/presumption of impunity,  and it is this assumption, this presumption, that is most disturbing to me --- that such activity can be strumpeted in the light of day, with impunity --- with impunity! What has our nation come to when school officials would dare imagine such impunity? Tell me this!

    This must be stopped! 
    This MUST be stopped! 
    This MUST be stopped!

    Our young must be safe -- this, above all, is paramount. I will watch that documentary ... we all, each and every one of us in this land, should watch that documentary, and then these wrongs must be addressed and stopped, lest our nation's heart and soul, our children, will suffer, worse and worse, with each passing day -- and we will have failed in our sacred charge and prescribed our young to a living hell. This must stop. This must be changed. Our children must be free from abuse, from living in fear, from living in hell.

    Thank you for this excellent diary, i know it was painful to watch and write of these things, but we must expose this festering mold in the light of day, for only sunlight will purge such sickness from our society. This is the single greatest battle of our age, the raising of our youth with true freedom.

    My holy of holies is the human body, health, intelligence, talent, inspiration, love, and absolute freedom -- freedom from violance, and falsehood, no matter how the last two manifest themselves.
    ~ Anton Pavoloc Chekov ~


    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 07:52:00 AM PST

  •  Thank you all for your responses (1+ / 0-)
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    I turned on the computer this morning to find so many thoughtful posts added after I went to bed.

    Thank you very much.

    After I posted this diary I happened on another WebCamGate story, not the one in PA. I'm still processing it. I think it's even worse than the PA one. We need to keep on top of this stuff.

    I'll try to double check the info I found and if it is what it seems to be, I'll post an update.

    I think I will use the "Democracy at Risk?" as a continuing title for such posts.

    Sapere aude: Dare to know; to think for yourself; to be wise. I. Kant "What is Enlightenment?"

    by Sapere aude on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 10:22:41 AM PST

  •  Young people will meet our expectations (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the thoughtful post on the criminalization of youth. It's about time that adults realized that young people will meet the expectations we set for them: whether they are high or low. If we show kids that we think they're budding criminals, by cracking down with excessive force, then they'll act like criminals. If, on the other hand, we treat them with the respect that we show our adult peers, they will usually rise to those expectations of maturity and engagement as well.

    Democracy is at risk, indeed. Schools have the potential to give young people the experience of real democracy, by designing ways for them to express their opinions and make decisions that affect their own day-to-day learning and living. That way, by the time they graduate, students understand that they have the power to vote, organize, and otherwise make their voices heard. If they learn as children that they are powerless against authoritarian forces, it's likely that they'll be inactive citizens -- or even worse, authoritarian or violent themselves because it's the only way they've known to be powerful.

    Adults must realize that we set the tone for the culture of a school. Let's make schools places where young people feel valued as equal members of the community, not potential troublemakers whose every move we must watch.

    Melia Dicker
    Communications Director
    IDEA: The Institute for Democratic Education in America

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