I personally was one of the people who was supplying new proxies to students at the school, and they went after me taking away my ability to connect to the internet using my login for the remaining years of my high school experience. I eventually had to use other peoples logins (with their permission of course) to be able to continue using the computers at the school.
All this is to say, if you try to create a surveillance system at any given school, kids will find a way to not engage with it or fight back if they are able. People in the discussion below aren't giving the kids enough credit to stand up for themselves.
American schools use cameras to look into crimes. They are not generally accessible immediately by teachers, but many British schools now have very elaborate camera systems designed for immediate use. When two kids get into a fight there is little debate about who started it. Teachers can, within minutes, have the footage on a tablet at their desk. Having that unbiased video evidence immediately at hand radically changes bullying prevention. Some kids and most parents may not like cameras, but that kid who is afraid for his or her physical safety wants those cameras working.
Microphones are a more sensitive issue, but I could see them being equally effective in addressing harassment. They would need different protections, perhaps a 30min recording limit, but there is potential.
So I guess as a society, we should try to provide safety, and if surveillance isn’t desirable, we have to be willing to pay higher costs for another solution (eg fewer students per class so teachers can pay attention to bullying).
I have actually read about a camera system for locker rooms that would use image recognition to blur nakedness. Another system blurred everything other than faces and the static background. We are far from being OK with such things in schools, but they are out there for more secure areas.
One of the most obvious causes of suicide is newspaper reporting on other suicides. The reporting is allowed anyway.
I hope your never in a position of power over youth or vulnerable people, as your mindset could cause severe harm to people undeserving of such treatment.
Even discovered that the "teacher" version of the software could be used for complete surveillance and control of every student computer on the network.
Despite doing nothing malicious, I was reprimanded heavily for describing to the principal the severity of the issue after other kids were caught doing less than savory things with it.
I learned something then. And it seems the "real world" isn't much different.
I have another story related to yours. Myself and 3 friends were taking a programming class in high school, and one of them discovered that the screen casting software that teachers used(which also functioned as surveillance software) could be "reversed" without admin access. Not only did he figure out how to spy on everyone's screens, but during class he managed to cast his screen to everyone in the school, including teachers who were using their projectors to do lectures. It was pretty funny, and I don't remember how he did it. This was in New Zealand, so while the school officials were extremely pissed, he didn't get expelled since what he did was fairly harmless and it exposed a serious flaw in the system. I imagine if this was happened in the United States, he'd have at least been expelled and possibly charged with a crime.
People anywhere don't give children enough credit for how clever they can be at getting around stuffy rules.
I really hope parents take up this battle though. This is your job as a parent.
The teacher had a script which would turn off all our screens when she was giving lectures. One of my buddies (SW geek) developed this script which would get around the teachers script and turn our monitors back on, but it was buggy and didn't always work.
The Hardware geeks just unplugged their ethernet cables. Go figure.
The host then talked himself into making the comparison between this activity and how Russia treats surveillance, and confusedly asking his guest "wait, we're not like the Russians are we? That can't be right..." After some interaction, the host was eager to talk about the programs again.
Why are people so willing to give up their rights?
A lot of people are very happy to lead docile, ignorant lives, and be "protected" from any (real or imagined) threats. I think it's mostly a "I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I care?" type of thinking. As the infamous saying goes,
"Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither."
I always hate this, because we've seen all throughout history that legal wrong and moral wrong are different things. You can do something that is legally wrong and morally right. Lots of laws change for this reason. It is no longer illegal to have an interracial marriage. Or a gay marriage. I think part of this thinking is "we've come so far" but people don't realize those things weren't that long ago and similar things are happening today.
Even if the people in power now consider everything you're doing both morally and legally right, that could change when power changes hands, and the system you once supported can be turned against you.
Too few people understand that privacy protects the innocent as well, not only the guilty.
I suggest seeing The Lives of Others, a beautiful film about East Germany’s surveillance and it’s influence on people.
IMO the US style adversarial system where eg cops can outright lie to you to nullify your rights are mindlessly naive. Having to do all of the above is basically market inefficiency, with the default being set by only the regulations the professionals have to follow. In retrospect the ethos couldn't have been better designed to foster totalitarianism.
Straw men such as not being "like Russia" or "like China" just prop up the cognitive dissonance. That is what happened to that radio host who accidentally made the badthink connection between US surveillance and Russian surveillance.
Students have no rights. I find it despicable but it's a fact.
0: Or, more pedantically, the rights that are inalienable to them by virtue of being a person were never not violated. Or, more comprehendibly, they never had acknowledgement and enforcement of those rights by the legal system.
1: I assume "children do have [acknowledgement and enforcement of their preexisting] rights" is what dgzl intended to convey.
Do you have any evidence for that bold claim?
I would expect that's difficult to support. Aside from, perhaps, guests that are funded by think tanks. Or, I suppose, even professors.
By that logic we should have facial recognition too, just to make sure JLo doesn't walk in. She's been all over the news for 20 years, so it must be an epidemic.
The critique in this article focuses on technological unreliability without addressing the profound wrongheadedness of the idea in the first place. Perhaps that's been discussed plenty elsewhere, but I for one could stand to have that part of the critique repeated ad infinitum until it sinks in.
Because it turns out the chance for that is 1 in 35 thousand (per lifetime, not per year) 
 Using 118 school shooting deaths/year from 2018, which was the worst year ever, according to https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46507514, 13.41 mean years of schooling from http://data.uis.unesco.org/index.aspx?queryid=242, and 78.69 years life expectancy.
* Of course we all know why - because the author doesn't hesitate to mislead with creative statistics to push an agenda.
Edit, to add some context and explanation: Using mean_years_of_schooling/life_expectancy to get an estimate on the number of students in the USA. Now the chance of being killed in any homicide, in the same period of time as mean years of schooling, is 1 in 1400. 25-times larger. And homicides aren't close to the biggest killer: https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2019/05/Causes-of-death-i...
People respond to prolonged stress with aggression. Instead of doing surveillance, maybe think about ways to reduce student stress.
E.g. in Austria, the school is legally required to provide a day between two major tests (IIRC). In the US, lol, finals are crammed into like 3 days where you have major papers/projects due as well, so like 6 major things due in like 3 days is normal.
Maybe school is just supposed to prepare from being managed inefficiently.
In this culture the kind of system described by the article wasn't just predictable, it was utterly inevitable.
Using the bathroom required permission that was often denied. Peeing between classes often meant penalties for being tardy (in middle/high school where you had 5 minutes to get between classes which may be a 4 minute walk apart, and teachers always had that one last thing to say). My middle school banned shoelaces for a while because of gang violence. I had a Spanish teacher who regularly handed out negative grades on tests (your grade would have been better if you hadn't showed up and taken a 0 on the test). I had a different spanish teacher who took it upon herself to regularly humiliate students who were doing poorly and lecture us about how we could never expect to get anywhere in life.
It wasn't all bad. I had a fantastic chemistry teacher and a great physics teacher. But there was a lot of bad.
That's one thing I don't get in the US. The schools really look like prisons. Why not have windows and daylight?
That said, the architecture was actually quite nice, with lots of natural light and open space.
Shouldn't that be banned by fire hazard regulations?
Segregation happened. Much like racial divides, it's easier to see people you aren't exposed to on a daily basis as something less than human. That, and when people are expected to be less than human, they start acting like it (the lack of opportunity for personal development directly delays when it happens).
Children, of course, have it worse, because they don't know (and some never really figure it out) that they're getting screwed; the foundation of fighting for rights is knowing you should have them in the first place.
And while there may have been a good reason for this in the past (1910s industry was very far from being a pleasant place to work), safety regulations and the increased number of service/knowledge jobs relative to the more unpleasant ones (as well as safety regulations where applicable) as well as increased automation would make workplace apprenticeship programs much more viable. The political will (of the people who have rights) can't be changed unless they see those who they oppress like themselves, and showing that they can accomplish objectively useful things (not schoolwork) is a good way to do that.
Of course, the very task of creating programs that make children useful is significant, and we figure that school isn't that unpleasant for most, so [corporate humanity] will do nothing to change their status. We won't teach the children dissatisfied by the current system that there's something they can do about it either, because that would destabilize the system as it stands.
>Schools should be a place where children feel safe, not a place where they feel locked up.
The two are much more similar than you realize. The feeling of being locked up directly stems from the complete elimination of risk (i.e. the feeling of safety). And a school with no playground and no technical subjects where students are seen and not heard is a perfectly safe place, much like societies where the concept of risk is antithetical to the concept that individuals only exist to serve said society tend to have less violence but never actually prosper. Development requires risk.
I think that another aspect of the us school system is the stampede during the breaks. Too many people moving at once.
Not to mention the unidirectionality of aging - once you age out you never have to worry about being subject to the restrictions. If we applied the same standards to minors we would have a maximum voting age because once you get to say 90 your bloc is judged 'statistically not fully capable'.
I for one would be stressed even more if I had a camera behind me when in classroom. Similarly in the office. At my last job, the mere passing remark about possibility of installing cameras was met with "you do this, we walk right out and don't come back".
And way, way less than in other countries.
In plenty of countries people take a set of exams that covers two years worth of education (e.g. the physics exam is two years worth of physics education). And then they do it again 2 years later (first set of exams is after the 10th grade, second set after the 12th).
Both these exams are a major determinant of your future university admissions.
And then there are countries where there are too many students and too few universities. Kids will study all day and nights. I knew one high school student who was not allowed to leave his house for at least a month prior and during the exams. It paid off. He got into a good university. And while not everyone who got in studied as hard as he did, many did - he was not an outlier.
Many people need to study like crazy just for a chance to get into any accredited university.
If you're OK going to a regular state university, and not necessarily a top ranked one, life is easy in the US. You don't need a fantastic GPA, and you don't need a fantastic SAT score. An above average GPA in the US does not mean you'll never get a university education. Getting appendicitis in the middle of the big exams (you know, the one that covers 2 years of material) is not a major determinant of your life.
 Actually happened to someone I know. Didn't hurt him too much as his family had money to send him to a US-like country.
Call me a crazy loony, but I think someone who would phrase it that way isn't on the same planet as taking the problem space seriously.
Computer recognition of the natural world does not work without training and human confirmation/QA, and they aren't going to train each individual installation on corpuses derived from each individual school because that would eat their profits. It's all a scam, the only reason anybody's even talking to them is because they're using tax dollars as free R&D funding and calling it "progress."
All that said: They made the software to stop bar fights in Groningen, not to stop shootings. I don’t really understand why this is being framed as a school shooting deterrent.
Catching cheaters would be nice. Catching bullies would be nice. Reducing the rate of false sexual assault claims and actual sexual assault (my year had one of each teacher:student).
But... it probably opens doors to worse things. Dumb cameras would be good. Smart cameras would be bad. As would software run over the dumb cameras.
Meanwhile, the disempowered students can complain all they want, which will just encourage administrators to crack down more using their new camera system.
I can only imagine what life would be like if my control-freak step-grandmother had access to tapes of me learning how to interact with my classmates and participating in cognitive rebellion against their draconian, hyper-religious control over my personality. Instead of being punished 75% of the time it would have been 100% of the time. I would not have been allowed to contact any of my friends because they all grew up in more sensible households and represented threats to my guardians' control over me.
And this doesn't even touch the fact that normalizing children to surveillance is objectively a bad thing if you give a rat's ass about the future of this planet and peoples' ability to be individual.
Maybe it sounds like a good idea at face value but you should resist espousing such views without thinking about every last detail.
Yes, but the powers that be don't actually want that. It's easier to control children that don't know better if they're prevented from learning that things could be better, much like it's antithetical to a racist government's power to educate people of races they don't like.
This is appealing to technocrats and other authoritarians, because They know better than You, but that's short-term thinking at its worst; what they fail to consider or calculate is that progress requires time and risk to occur.
Was not able to do that degree with my own kids, but they had considerably more than their peers did. (Yes, I had to deal with helicopter parents a few times)
It was weird spending time with friends whose parents generally let them develop their own personalities and interests unhindered but who would have to check in or get permission every time we changed locations. Once I was out the house, I never felt the need to check in because neither did my guardians. Honestly I'm fairly certain they would hope I wouldn't come back one day. And I definitely had quite a few close calls.
As for my own children, I plan to do the same; their time is their business, as long as they stay out of trouble. Hopefully while at home I manage to drill some sense into their heads.
Just cannot see her suffering through the mess.
The worst of my teachers' behavior when I was a kid was beyond the pale, but no one took kids at face value.
Fact is, school is a horrible environment with disgusting power dynamics in every direction, which doesn't do anything to bring out the best in people. No one believes how bad it gets in there, and for some reason, promptly forgets what it was like in school when they were growing up. Or they just didn't comprehend it at the time.
I attended what most people would consider a "small" public high school in the U.S. (rural area, less than 1,000 students, one high school for the entire county), and never experienced anything like what you're describing.
Teachers knew students by name (given the smaller size of their classes; for example, there was one band teacher for the entire school), as well as students' parents by name.
We surely had our share of social awkward people, but they were left alone unless they themselves acted out, and they usually still made some friends.
We didn't have true bullies. Maybe occasionally somebody from a higher grade would tease somebody younger, but never for long let alone repeatedly. Beating somebody up would have been a great crime worthy of grave penalties in our eyes, and we would have stopped it and then have ratted out whoever it was in a heartbeat. If somebody tried to bully somebody beyond what we considered acceptable teasing or be aggessive to somebody, the class mates would protect whoever it was, even the social awkward kid. This only happened once in my peer group with a dude who had freshly transferred from another school (moved cities IIRC) trying to be the "cool" guy picking on an awkward kid, starting to slap him. He quickly learned that if you want to bully or fight one of us, you will fight all of us. Forming a crowd around him telling him to leave his victim alone, fuck off and never try it again with anybody was enough. A few years later we were buddies with him.
There were some students who gave teachers a somewhat hard time, but mostly "class jokers" who probably suffered from ADHD. I only ever had one class mate who posed such a problem the teachers could not handle her within our school. She was then sent off to a special care place specializing in teens with her kinds of problems, not as a punishment or some bullshit "zero tolerance" policy but to help her.
This is of course just my personal experience in the two schools I personally visited, but it makes me genuinely wonder how the dynamics in a school can change and deteriorate to a point where constant bullying and even beat ups are tolerated and common (whether it be due to obliviousness or fear). But I know it happens, and happens a lot.
The middle school was the worst of the bunch, but the unhealthy power dynamics are everywhere. Students who, if they don't care for their grades, teachers have zero leverage over. Teachers with little to no accountability, and a bunch of hormone-rich assholes to look after. All locked in together day after day.
It was atrocious.
*In the US. My own school experience in Europe could not have been more different than what you describe. When looking for a solution, we should not forget about places that have (or had) good school systems.
After all, I can only vouch for a few schools in one country in Europe. And that's outdated info - I hear things have been slowly getting worse here as well.
Edit: Yet I do get the impression schools are worse in the US, at least from how they're universally portrayed by Hollywood. Some statistics could clear things up...
When I studied abroad in Europe, other exchange students regularly asked me how us Americans learn anything when we are constantly talking during class as seen in any highschool teen drama movie. As if Mean Girls was a documentary. I was dumbfounded.
A big part of what people think about daily US life, past and present, is shaped by movies. E.g. we didn't learn about Mt. Rushmore, Drive-In theaters, the FBI, Thanksgiving, or Miranda rights in school.
This week inwasnput incharge of the whole technology deot behind out school and the boss asked me to find a way to forward the cameras to their main office.
They asked it was possible and I gave a non committal answer promising to get back to them next week, purely because I know some teachers are uncomfortable about this.
Personally I'm all for it. I've seen it in Korea (I'm in Japan btw), where parents can see real time feeds of the classrooms.
Personally, i don't have an issue. I have a full audio and video camera in my room, and I'm willing to open that to the owner(and if they want the parents) in real time.
A lot of teachers over here seem to take it as an insult though. As if their personal freedoms are being enchroached.
I think there is more reason than to show how badly their children are acting though. A co worker was accused of sexually assaulting a student a few years ago (different school). They happened to still have the recordings on hand and after showing the full month in question to the oarentx the student admitted to makjgbitnuo to try and stop doing extra after school studies. That's one reason it's damn important, and the converse side of course.
I'm of the mind that having a camera(and audio) in a classroom that parents can access in real time is not just an excellent safety precaution, it's also a great way for parents to learn about their children's study and learning methods!
I think surveillance should still be used but with limitation, similar to police bodycams. Have audio/video recording and provide it to the parents if an incident arises or if there is a reasonable request from a parent. This introduces subjectivity but if carefully implemented that could be minimized.
But yeah some kind of unobtrusive bodycam style system for forensic purposes only (no access for parents) seems a reasonable middle ground.
A video system is ultimately a facilitator of human-scale behavior - recorded footage can be played back as objective evidence or representative examples. A proper video system would have an append-only audit log of what was accessed by whom, available to the entire community. But even without that, the limit of abuse is confined to what a petty school administration could accomplish. Whereas the system in the article is practically begging to create perverse incentives that lead to mechanized abuse ("your son has been suspended for repeated aggression incidents" - meanwhile it's simply something about their voice that sets off a poorly implemented trigger). The fallout from these problems then gets default-labeled as "nobody's fault" because the non-techie bias is to trust machines' biased interpretations as if they're facts.
This applies to the whole "report suspicious behavior" thing too. Most of the time, when a kid is acting like an edgy teen he's just... being an edgy teen. I don't like the whole spanish inquisition rat-out-your-buddy direction this thing is taking.
Imagine that some automated surveillance technology proved itself to be 100% effective at spotting aggressive behavior. The only catch is that it records, with perfect fidelity every sneeze, cough, conversation, and laugh in a way that uniquely associates each instance to an individual. Part of the efficacy requires all audio and personal identification to be stored in a giant database.
Should such a technology be deployed in US public schools?
I believe most surveillance tecchnology is better suited for ass covering/acountability than for any real increase of security and safety.
This is the difference between stopping something from happening vs figuring out afterwards what caused it.
How did it get so damn authoritarian?
There's too many comments here that are just conjecture.