The Steep Price of “Safe” Schools

It’s a Liberty lover’s nightmare.

We close our eyes, rub our temples and think about the future.

It ain’t good.

That slippery slope we’ve written about so much… Our kids are sledding down it, and they have no idea of the mess that lies at the bottom.

We published a piece on Saturday that detailed Google’s not-so-big fine for grabbing personal data from unsuspecting kids.

“Ah, it’s okay,” the folks at Big Search figured as they nabbed the info. “They’re just kids, and we’re only seeing what they’re watching.”

“And besides… we’re getting the same information from their parents.”

Fair enough.

But if parents knew what is happening inside our schools, they may think again about putting lil’ Johnnie on the bus tomorrow morning.

Teaching Problem

For instance, did you know that Miami-Dade County Public Schools has 18,000 cameras trained on its students at all times?

There’s a central data center with a wall of monitors. Officials can sneak a peek whenever they want.

They can also pull up a map of the city and track every kid and every bus as they go about their business.

It begs a question. Are we taking these kids to school… or cellblock 6?

If that’s not enough to keep the overseers busy, the school’s cops can scroll through social media pages and see what the kids are typing, posting or liking.

Hopefully the warden, er, um, the principal likes what she sees.

But we know what you’re thinking. It’s the price we pay these days. Those folks are there just to keep our kids safe.

Or are they?

Crime Fighters

If we dare to dig past the Today show headlines and the 10 seconds of reporting the nightly news gives to the facts before moving on to something about Trump’s fight with the weatherman, we see there’s something deeper going on here.

And it’s scary.

For the full truth, we must turn to some shocking figures from the FBI.

That’s when we learn that there are more than 2 million juvenile arrests each year in this country… primarily for nonviolent crimes.

In all, the math adds up to some 40 crimes per 1,000 public school students. Funny enough, that figure comes from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Remember when education statistics actually measured how much our kids learned?

The crime stats are good news for a police department looking to keep busy and grow its ranks. With 400 schools to cover and some 170 sworn officers to cover them, the Miami-Dade Police Department deals with some 5,000 calls per month… probably a whole lot more now that it’s got eyes in every corner.

We have to ask…

Where’s all this going?

Surveillance State

We’ve got a generation of kids who are used to being tracked and spied on. Whether they’re in school or online, somebody is watching – and it’s not their parents.

What sorts of decisions will these kids make when they’re in charge? Will they stand up for themselves and pull the cord out of the wall? Or will they see no positive effect from all of this surveillance and ignorantly beg for more?

We’re already seeing it happen.

It’s the reason the slippery slope is so darn slippery… It’s greased with failure.

The superintendent at Miami-Dade gave us some hints recently that things aren’t working quite as planned. While giving a boastful tour of his spy center, he admitted the school’s new app is causing a few headaches.

The software allows folks to report crime or suspicious behavior from their phones anonymously.

Sounds good. But it has its flaws.

“There are some folks out there playing games, and they are reporting complaints about food in the cafeteria or the cleanliness of a bathroom,” said Alberto Carvalho. “That is not the use for this system. This system is to be used only to report critical threats, critical incidents.”

In other words, false alarms and frivolous reports are already slashing away at the program’s usefulness, sparking calls for something stronger and more authoritarian.

The solution, of course, is to slip and slide further down the slope.

We’re “Retraining”

Florida’s public safety commission recently met to discuss how schools are reporting violence and other crimes.

Some districts are over-reporting, some are underreporting, and, just as we’d predict, the numbers are so wonky that nobody bothers to read them.

“I think the looming question… is whether the nonreporting and the underreporting are intentional to conceal what is really happening on school campuses across Florida – or whether there’s another reason for the misreporting, such as flaws in the system,” said one attendee at the meeting.

“We use data for everything for the state of Florida, but we’re not using data well and to our advantage to make our schools safer, necessarily,” said another.

That’s when the boss at Broward County’s schools spoke up.

His district is going all-in.

“We are in the process of implementing a digital, centralized threat assessment system,” said Daniel Gohl. “And we will again be retraining all administrators and then all Threat Assessment Teams throughout the county for the 2019-2020 school year, with additional monitoring and accountability mechanisms.”

Wow… retraining, huh?

That’s political speak for “Our last idea didn’t work, so we’re going harder this time.”

Bigger Government

Clearly, folks are desperate to find a solution. It sounds like a good chance for politicians to come out of their holes and grab a few votes.

They did. It’s called Senate Bill 7030… and it calls for all sorts of expanded programs, monitoring, and state-guided checkups on our kids and their schools.

This ain’t good, folks.

Do you remember when school was school and teachers were teachers?

These days, that’s not the case. Teachers are being “retrained.” Cameras are in every classroom, hall and bus. And the government is spending oodles of money.

The “man” is watching from above, with the false promise of keeping our kids safe.

But out here in the real world, where we can think and do for ourselves, it’s quite clear we’re sliding down a slippery slope… where government grows and Liberty gets shoved aside.

It’s not good.

We’re scared of what comes next.

We wonder what would happen if all that money and energy went into actually teaching our kids the truth.

It’d be bad news for a government gone wild… but great job security for us.

Somebody needs to spread the truth.

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