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School Safety Tech Presents Possibilities & Problems

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Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/13/2014 6:57:11 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Children can be cruel
Hi CitySolver,

I'm not familiar with the South African movement, although I'm aware of the very serious violence has plagued the country for many years. It seems like a good start to a problem that confronts schools around the world, and where technology is but one tool in the fight against school violence.

This is a good discussion, and a major reason I always reply to comments -- in order to foster conversation and to learn.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
3/10/2014 7:34:23 AM
User Rank Blogger
Children can be cruel
Thats true, regardless of what political or economic system you are born into kids can be cruel and you cant prevent groups forming and terrorising other pupils. Thats why we need better educational support for the welfare of pupils as well as their safety. We need to see the connection between the two if we are to help break the cycle of violence in some schools. I like the method used in South Africa 'Truth and Reconcilliation' movement where aggressors meet their victims, talk to each other and foster longer term friendships. This could work very well in schools where pupils feel alienated (whether that be the bully or the victim, both need intervention and support)

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/7/2014 10:53:07 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: individual and the American Dream
Hi CitySolver,

No political system is perfect, and certainly socialism and capitalism have flaws. I think capitalism probably is better for stimulating innovation because, for one reason, it doesn't promote group-think and conformity -- that is often seen in some other countries' schools. Rugged individualism and all that -- which does have advantages.

However, that creates a less harmonious society and can be devastling to some people who need help. It's less about the group and more about "me." Americans as well as, for example, the Japanese and South Koreans, don't take the relatively long vacations and have as many non-working holidays as the Europeans.

There is a certain pride in not "closing down" for the summer or spending as much time not working at cafes. That "spirit" produces, in part, more innovation because work is paramount. But it also produces lots of heart attacks and psychological problems. And it leaves many Americans less able to enjoy life as much as Europeans. And there's less government assistance. At least, that's my impression, although certainly the poor economy has hit Europe hard. An unbalanced life can be potentially violent. 

That's why I think socialism in some cases might produce a more enjoyable life and less violence.

However, schools produce student cliques, regardless of the political environment, and that can cause tremendous problems for students who aren't in the "right" clique, including perhaps stimulating a proclivity for violence. That's why technology can help protect students, but it doesn't eliminate the root causes of violence.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/7/2014 10:42:06 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: uniform
Hi CitySolver,

I agree there's some value to uniforms, and if there's also a security aspect (which I never thought about until you raised the issue), perhaps that's sufficient to mandate their use. That would be a sad reason, though, if true.

CitySolver
CitySolver  
3/7/2014 9:18:04 AM
User Rank Blogger
individual and the American Dream
I heard a debate recently extolling the virtues of the American way that empowers people to empower themselves to succeed. This hit home to me as I was unemployed for over a year getting free money from the state. But going to sign on for that money was so depressing that UI questioned its 'benefit'. Maybe a half way house would be better. I think that the sheer volume of creatitivity and ingenuity of America shows that the chaos works in broad terms but some miss out big style and they fall off the radar. At least with state help, anyone can live with some dignity (if you are happy taking the money) I think in Socialist leaning countries like the UK was and still is to some extent, need to put more programs to get people in to work rather than let them lounge on benefits. But fully fledged capitalism is as ruthless as it is productive. Is the trade off too high, I really dont know??

CitySolver
CitySolver  
3/7/2014 9:12:08 AM
User Rank Blogger
uniform
I agree Alan, the issue of individuality is a massive debate too. I used to think that uniform was bad but I have changed my mind as it enables poor students to not be overtly poor and so compete on a level playing field. As far as security is concerned I think that uniform is the cheapest alternative to security panels etc even if it has its drawbacks. Its definitely a debate worth having.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/6/2014 5:06:52 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: every little helps
Hi CitySolver,

I guess my previous comment about school uniforms sort of took a somewhat "American/individualist" view that sameness is conformity, of which I'm not a fan. I must admit that as a cynical, obnoxious, semi-misanthropic American, I vote for individualism over conformity. (Granted, there are limits, although I do love Apple's "here's to the crazy ones" commercial).

It's a huge philosophical issue about whether blunting individualism is good or bad. As for the "American Dream," well, it has been rather nightmarish during the past decade or two, and the gulf between the haves and have nots indeed has been widening at an alarming rate.

I must admit that benevolent socialism might be a kinder and more pleasant way to live (as in Scandinavia) than unbridled capitalism. And that might foster a less violent school environment and society in general.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/6/2014 4:53:19 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: uniforms
Hi CitySolver,

The use of school uniforms is interesting. We have them in the U.S., too, but typically not in our "public" (i.e., regular government schools). I can see the value of everyone wearing the same uniform, but it also sort of emphasizes that children all the same, all little robots, without individuality and freedom to express themselves.

However, I never thought about the security aspects of a uniform in school. Students not wearing a uniform could be interlopers. And, if the uniform is tailored with security in mind, perhaps there wouldn't be many or any places to hide weapons. Of course, that would mean there wouldn't be places to keep pencils, pens, snacks, etc.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/6/2014 4:44:54 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: school data
Hi CitySolver,

This will continue to be a point of contention school administrators, law enforcement officials, parents, students and others who will have to weigh the various pros and cons of employing invasive technology for school use. There's a tremendous temptation to use technology if you have it. As a techie, I certainly understand.

This debate will continue for a long time and it remains to be seen what technologies can truly help protect students.

Alan Reiter
Alan Reiter  
3/6/2014 4:39:53 PM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Psychology
Hi mejiac,

I'm not an expert in the dynamics of school violence, but I assume a loving and stable home environment can help reduce the likelihood of violent students. Unfortunately, there are all sorts of tirggering situations for violence that are outside of the home.

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