Home > Constitution, Education, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance, FUSD, Nanny State, New Media, Police State > They Desperately Want To Spy On Your Kids

They Desperately Want To Spy On Your Kids

By Elisha Dorfsmith

At a recent FUSD board meeting, Superintendent Hickman and members of the board were bemoaning the fact that they cannot snoop through information on student’s cell phones without permission. The general consensus was that they need to know what kids are up to in order to “protect them”. I got the impression that at least a couple members of the board feel that students are second class citizens and shouldn’t have the same rights as adults. I find that very disturbing.

Since when do teachers and staff need to know the intimate details of every student’s life in order to protect them from bullies and from themselves? Just because we live in an age of technology does not mean that students should give up their freedom and 4th Amendment rights.

Have you ever wondered how far schools will go to spy on your kids? Anybody remember this story:

School Spies On Students At Home With Webcams

No matter how low schools stoop in their intrusive behavior, they always seem to have their defenders. When the above article came out, I tried to talk sense to a guy on Facebook for over an hour while he argued that schools should have the right to spy on students in their bedrooms. We have a society of mind numbed robots who will accept anything if it’s in the name of protecting our children…even if it does the OPPOSITE.

I recently learned that Knoles office staff want the PTO to fund surveillance cameras for their school. In my opinion, this is just another step toward a complete surveillance society where big brother can do whatever he wants and we have to accept it because it’s for our “own good”.  If you complain, school surveillance defenders will often throw a guilt trip on you and suggest that you don’t care about your child’s safety. I’ve heard it countless times. “You’re overreacting” they say, “everyone’s rights are being protected”.  Are they really? Do schools actually care about the rights of their students?

I’ll let you decide:

In a recent AZ Daily Sun article titled Flag High Aces Drug Sweep, we find once again that the police state is alive and well in Flagstaff.  Kids are being treated like criminals before they ever commit a crime and at the same time conditioned and brainwashed to not stand up for their rights.  If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t worry kids,  we’re doing this for your own good. We’re the good guys so it’s cool.

Even more frightening, the article says:

“Had the dogs alerted on a location — like a backpack or a locker — Needham said he would first have attempted to receive consent to search the location. If the student had refused, he would have requested search warrant approval telephonically from a judge.”

Interesting how underage students are considered old enough to consent to a police search. You would think the police would need a warrant regardless. Are underage students legally able to waive their rights? If so, we’ve got a major double standard on our hands. Kids are protected from everyone but the government.

The way I see it, all of these students were considered guilty until proven innocent.  There was a police dog sniffing around their personal property looking for an illegal substance.  The fact that nothing was found at the school proves that there was absolutely no probable cause and the cops should not have been there. What kind of message does this send to our kids?

Just when you think the insanity can get no worse, a story like this comes out:

Officials Pull Plug On Website Promoting Hidden Cameras For Principals

Here we have a school district  promoting hidden cameras in everything from teddy bears to pencil sharpeners! Parents are outraged right? Think again, the article closes with the following quote from a parent defender of the policy:

“Bosses have cameras on their employees all the time. This is no different,”

Really, so you’re just going to sit there and let somebody secretly film your unsuspecting child? Is this what we’ve come to as a society? Is this the kind of “safety” and “security” we want?

When FUSD started talking about an anti bullying policy, I did quite a bit of research which included talking to friends and asking if they were bullied in school. Most said they were bullied at one time or another…mostly verbally.  Then I asked where the bullying took place. Nearly all of them said the bus, the gym, and the bathroom.

How long before someone gets the bright idea to start putting cameras in bathrooms to “protect the kids”?  At what point will parents say enough is enough!

Time to stand up for the rights of our children!


  1. Ken
    February 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Dorf, I have to disagree. A great deal of bullying that happens in the public school happens in the restroom (and I wish that I was only addressing this from the perspective of a teacher). It is where drug deals occur on a campus. It is where drugs are consumed on a campus. Whatever one’s stance on drug use (legalize it, I say), they have no place on a school campus.

    I have to say, in your vigilance against a “nanny state,” you seem to overlook the appropriate role of an actual nanny–the care and supervision of *children.* While our schools certainly don’t have carte blanche toward this end, neither do our children have the rights (and responsibilities) of adults.

  2. February 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Ken, are you suggesting that we put cameras in school bathrooms?

  3. Ken
    February 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I’m following up on that part of your post. I do not have a problem with it–if we are going to have rules that we cannot enforce, then we shouldn’t have those rules. No drugs and no bullying are pretty good rules. It’s a reason that I support school choice–those families who don’t want that level of scrutiny don’t have to have it. I do think, though, that most families are comfortable with it.

  4. February 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I appreciate your honesty Ken. It is unfortunate but I think you are right when you say most families are comfortable with it. Your comments bring up a bunch of questions though:

    Do you think cameras in bathrooms will stop drugs and bullying in schools? What’s to keep kids from moving drug deals into the stalls? Should cameras be installed in the stalls too?

    This morning my wife mentioned people she knew as a kid who were bullied in the locker room and showers. Should cameras be installed in locker rooms and showers? Do we cross a whole other ethical line when we film students undressing? Would this also be necessary to stop bullying and drug deals? As you say, “if we are going to have rules that we cannot enforce, then we shouldn’t have those rules”.

    Why do we need cameras everywhere and why do we pretend that we can stop bad behavior 100% of the time? What happened to teachers and school staff stepping in and stopping these kinds of activities?

    Who actually monitors the cameras? My fearful side says it could be someone who enjoys secretly watching children. My rational side says that probably nobody does because schools don’t have the staff to do it so these cameras do nothing to actually stop drug deals and bullying. All they do is put a sense of fear in kids and let them know that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING. Conditioning for the surveillance society in the real world. The UK is already putting cameras in the homes of people they don’t see as fit parents. Our schools are teaching kids not to question that:


    I am glad that you support school choice. Hopefully many concerned parents read this blog and look into other options.

  5. February 16, 2011 at 8:27 am

    When coercion is the problem, adding more coercion is not the answer. Ridiculous, cameras in the bathrooms.

    I’d like to hear solution ideas from the kids.

  6. February 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Susan, solutions from the kids would not be a bad step, although you (and I) might be surprised–and perhaps discouraged–by what they suggest. But we are talking about kids, and regardless of how much you or I might trust the judgement of our children, they still lack the rights and responsibilities of full, legal adulthood.

    Dorf, you suggest the answer to one of your own questions. You ask what sort of teacher who would monitor the cameras; others would ask what sort of teacher would step into the restroom. Hypervigilance for sexual predation will keep most teachers–especially male ones–out of the restrooms.

    As far as cameras in the stalls go, particularly to address dealing, I don’t see the necessity. If you see two kids go into a stall at once, you have a pretty good idea of the illicit nature of the activity.

    I do not suggest, of course, that drug activity or bullying can be wiped out. This does not mean that we should not address it. We will also never wipe out crime, either through police action, armed citizenry, or a combination of the two. This does not logically lead to throwing our hands up altogether. We do the best we can.

    And, Dorf, as an agent of the establishment in question, I really do mean that we do the best we can. If we are to have public schools, and we are to give strangers temporary custody of our children, we have to give those strangers access to them. A school dance where all of the chaperones stay outside the dance hall in the interest of privacy would, I think, yield its fruits nine months hence.

  7. February 17, 2011 at 6:41 am


    I think you are kind of missing my point. I never said that kids should not be taken care of by teachers or chaperoned. We send our kids to school to be supervised. I would be upset if I sent my son to school and he was not taken care of.

    My problem is with the huge surveillance push where cameras take the place of teachers. Where zero tolerance policies take the place of working with kids and problems on a case by case basis. Where kids are guilty until proven innocent. We are removing the human aspect. We are turning our schools into factories and students are treated like cattle rather than human beings with rights and needs.

  8. February 17, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Every once in a while an amazing thing happens that puts a huge smile on my face. Today, the AZ Daily Sun posted a guest editorial that mentioned this article:


    It says what I have been trying to say better than I ever could:

    “There’s an old axiom that what children learn in school today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow. As surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs and strip searches become the norm in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation, America is on a fast track to raising up an Orwellian generation–one populated by compliant citizens accustomed to living in a police state and who march in lockstep to the dictates of the government. In other words, the schools are teaching our young people how to be obedient subjects in a totalitarian society.”

    Beautifully said!!!

  1. March 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm
  2. June 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

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