A cam in every classroom

In the wake of the Virginia Tech murders, I’m going to repeat my suggestion — no, call — to put a webcam in every classroom for security. At elementary and high schools, at least, every class in my town’s schools has at least one PC. They could buy webcams for as little as $10.

  • And other than providing gruesome footage for media outlets after the fact, how would this have changed the Virginia Tech tragedy? And how long before people insist on using this to second guess what teachers say all day? It’s not as though subordinating everything to safety is going to make anything safer. It is just a bad idea, Jeff, even if you do repeat it.

  • How would have security cameras in the classrooms prevented the VT tragedy?

  • Rob

    There are about 2.5 million elementary and secondary public school classrooms in the United States. How exactly does putting a Web cam in those rooms guarantee anyone’s safety? Especially since it’s pointless to have a camera unless someone is actually monitoring them. And monitoring them for what exactly?

    As horrible as these events are we really need to get some perspective. They are so incredibly rare that it’s foolhardy to devote so much effort to something that pales in comparison to far greater threats.

    I did some digging and found that the _worldwide_ number of children murdered in schools is incredibly small. The most recent statistics I found were for the 6 years ending in 2006. The total for the entire planet was a little more than 200. Yes 200 worldwide. And unfortunately 80% of that total occurred during the Beslan school hostage crisis.

    By comparison more than 6,000 teenagers died in car crashes in the United States in 2003, and more than 500,000 were injured making driving, or being driven, the most dangerous thing a teenager does by far. In 2002 teen related accidents cost almost $41 billion.

    So tell me again why Web cams in a classroom is such an urgent priority for the safety of our children?

  • At the base of Mount Rainier, here in the State of Washington, lies a town called Orting.

    If Mount Rainier has an eruption event or a lahar (which is ice falling off the side of the mountain that turns into water and flooding) the City of Orting blasts loud sirens that tell the community what to do., such as evacuate. They exist because the whole town has about 20-30 minutes to get out of there in case of an emergency.

    These systems are also used at beaches where tsunami/tidal waves sometimes occur.

    I propose a siren system (huge speakers) that can relay messages across large campuses. A series of beeps/blares or a voice can warn people of emergencies such as loose gunmen.

    Oh, and train and arm 5% of the public and let them carry concealed guns just about everywhere. Gun-Free Zones are a joke.

  • Paw

    Brilliant idea, Jeff. That way, any troubled kid looking to get famous would be assured that the images of his carnage and delusional ravings would be broadcast worldwide, initially by NBC, after an intense 10 second period of soul searching.

    Unless you have the appropriate security personnel on duty at all times, trained in judicious armed response, which no school board would agree to fund, it’s just a Youtube/CANDID CAMERA opportunity waiting to happen.

  • Actually, this isn’t a terribly bad idea…even for just the sake of keeping order in the classrooms…however, the sheer SCOPE of such a project, even in ONE SCHOOL, is formidable. All those cameras would require a dedicated person to monitor them, the computer system to handle the monitoring alone would be pricey, and schools are already struggling for money as it is.

    The liklier (and more effective) scenario would be the GPS cellphone camera. There are bound to be kids with them everywhere, one day. Even so, however, this does not guarantee a forestallment of such a disaster as VT. They might shorten it, but that’s about the best that could be hoped for.

    There are really only two options, and the gun lobby will probably either cheer me or hate me…likely both…complete armament of every man woman and child….or complete DISarmament of same. Make guns unavailable to any except law enforcement and military…or make them universal. And…I don’t see EITHER scenario as possible.

    Prevention of things like this is going to lie elsewhere….and where THAT might be, I have no idea…

  • BenJCarter

    Leaving aside the should we/shouldn’t we arguments:

    While every classroom may have a PC, the bandwidth required to stream video to interested parties is most likely not available to most educational facilities which aren’t major universities.

    Back on the should/we shouldn’t we:

    In addition to the concerns raised above, I’m not sure I want the image of my wonderful gradeschool daughter broadcast, along with enough positional information to make the images useful in an emrgency, into the ‘net where she may be noticed by some of the less savory elements trolling for gratification…

    I like a lot of you’re ideas Jeff, but I think this one may be DOA. Difficult to implement, and quite possibly more harmful than good.

  • Andy Freeman

    > Make guns unavailable to any

    I’ve made a gun. I suspect folks who passed high school metal shop (unlike me) could do so as well.

    How are you going to disarm us?