Dear Minister of Education,
please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jasper Jung, I am a 39 year old Architect and father of a teenage son. I am writing to you in order to discuss a newspaper article from “The Times” from the 08 11 09, titled “Big Brother is watching…”. This article is about CCTV in public schools. I would like to offer my opinion in order to prevent CCTV.
The aspect that CCTV might avoid violence and bullying in schools sounds convincing. The headmister oder the headmistress would be able to see what happens in the classroom and he or she would be able to interfere in critical situations. In the past we had some very sad stories of students who used guns against their teachers and classmates. We all will never forget the tragedies of Columbus and Erfurt, where many people died. Only last year a 17-year-old German killed 16 students, teachers and inhabitants of a small town near Stuttgard. If cameras had been installed in the classrooms of the “Amok”-school many people would have survived for sure.
But not so drasicly, cameras might have a positive influence on rather lazy pupils which might be encouraged to work harder and talk less. This might lead to better results. But there is of course no proove. Maybe some teacher would put more effort in their work as well if they knew they would be watched. In case of trouble or severe interruption of lessons it might be possible to solve the probleme immediatly because of the proof of who was wrong and who wasnt. Week teachers with challenging pupils could understand the CCTV thing as a backup and support of their work.
So, many good reasons, however on the other hand CCTV has many negative sides. A permanent observation takes away any kind of privacy from a human being. Knowing that cameras and microphones tape down every detail of a day at school it would be impossible to develop creativity, a free will, the capability to express ones own opinion etc. Some things said in a spontanious and exagerated way to express ones opinion could be used against somebody. On top of that it is not everyones favourite idea of being watched by a camera, let alone being taped.
When I was a student my teacher always used to stand in front of me. He always looked at me and at the work I was doing. Some pupils like that, however I felt small and if prevented me of working good. If a whole school installs CCTV-Cameras the students would be too frightened to work because the feeling of being watched by some security men would make me and you feel frightened too. What if a student says something spontanious What if its stupid and he/she would like to take it back How strange is the feeling not knowing who sits on the other end of the camera Who would guarantee that the material would not be used against students and teachers, would not leave the office of the headmaster and would not be deleted within a day
Another point is the incredible amount of about 20.000.000?†. The article also said that it is not yet clear where the fondings schould come from. The new staff also has to be payed, to pay the whole staff of a country is extremely expensive.
The fulltime survaillance will have a great impact on students grades. Even the teachers will get paranoid and have the feeling of being observed. Cameras would be terrible for boths moral.
Some people say that the exam results might improve because the students arent abled to talk so they study. I asked my 9 year old daughter about CCTV. She said it would be horrible to be watched all the time. I think that the exam results will go down becaus the enormous pressure that is being made withh CCTV will ruin their grades and exams.
The fact of being observated all around the clock, to me is a inacceptable violation of the students privacy. The expensive CCTV-Cameras will take every space for the pupils to breathe. I ask you to do every possible thing to avoid us from a life on air.