School Security:

Promoting Safety or Surveillance?


Over the past couple of decades, violence has become more common in schools, causing the American public to label educational institutions as unsafe. Because of this, school administrators are choosing to amp up security with various methods. This distinguished need for security has led educators to develop more forms of surveillance and control, changing the school environment for students, faculty, and administrators. While many of these methods aim to contribute to a safe learning environment, many of them are also create the impression of a correctional facility, providing a means of surveillance for administrators to find misbehaving students. Although students may feel safer in these high-security schools, it may not provide a positive learning environment for them if they always feel like they are being watched by "Big Brother." These methods not only detract from the learning atmosphere, but also jeopardize some of the rights of students and even lead to severe and strict punishment policies.

In his novel, Little Brother, Cory Doctorow also perceives these security measures as a way for schools to survey and control their students, leading students like Marcus to resist authority and find ways to break the rules. Even the schools in Little Brother use some forms of security technology and Doctorow reveals how such measures restrict students’ rights and may actually be ineffective.

While it is important to impose safety in schools, it is also important for students to feel trusted and respected. When students feel respected, they in turn show consideration for the administrators and school rules. This mutual respect is a huge factor that contributes to the safety of the school, revealing that school security may not be the appropriate method to achieve a safe environment.


This website is being created for CTW II at Santa Clara University for Marc Bousquet.