The Surveillance Bus

Out of nowhere my son said, "I don't like this new school bus."

"OK," I said, "I'll bite. Why?"

"Our old bus was the only one without a million cameras." Ugh. Here we go, now I'm going to get all furious with this stupid school district again. And by "this school district" I mean "what public school has become."

"The old bus still had cameras, right?

"Yeah, but just one."

"How big a difference could it be?" I was just leading him on at this point to encourage him to talk more about it, since I had resolved not to go on rants about Foucault with my son until seventh grade. 

Then he dropped the bomb: "On the new busses it's harder to hide that we're eating."

I originally thought that kids are being trained up into accepting a surveillance state, starting from that elf-on-the-shelf Christmastime abomination, extending into the Fordist wet dream of 21st Century American public schools.

But then I remembered when a group of us were visiting a new school a couple months ago for a robotics tournament. We weren't there for five minutes before Caspar and his closest friend said "OK, spot the cameras." Then they scanned the entire cafeteria/multi-use room and pointed out most of them. They missed a couple, but that's forgivable since they're in 6th grade.

It wasn't that they found or didn't find cameras, it's that they automatically looked for them. The military-edu-tainment complex might be trying to train kids to accept surveillance. But what if our kids are actually training to be the greatest generation of rebels this country's ever seen?

I think these kids might be ready for me to start giving them Cory Doctorow books.