I first noticed the school’s surveillance cameras in grade 10.  After a friend pointed them out to me, I made a mental note to look for them in the halls and stairwells.  I didn’t think much of them, though.  They were probably only used to investigate incidents and some of them might be fake.  I mean, a surveillance system sounds pretty expensive.  Surely though, there was nobody actually monitoring these cameras.

Well, that was my idea of it until this year. At first, it looked like a clever and easy way for administration to get a general idea of the goings-on in the school: “According to our cameras, students are still in the hallways.”

But then, things got more and more specific, and scary: “The two boys on the third floor looking at the bulletin board, you are now late.” … “Girls besides stairwell 5, go to class.”

Suddenly, the mysterious P.A. voice became an omniscient figure in our school.  Or at least for those five minutes before class.

But where is the limit to our privacy? How far will they go? In what direction are we heading?

“Girl crying in the corner because she’s failing all her classes, please move along to class now.”

“Oi! You there, making out on the second floor!  You have thirty seconds to get to class.”

Yeah, that’s right.  She’s talking to you.  Big brother is watching.

So what changed this year?  Did the school decide that it would now monitor the video feeds?  Or have they been doing that all along and are now making it known to all students?

Either way, I can’t help but wonder what the school hopes to accomplish with this.  I doubt that the cameras actually deter people from doing stupid things in the halls.  We still see plenty of that.  So far, the cameras have been used to tell students that they’re late for class.  But unless the mysterious P.A. voice plans to call out on every student, this doesn’t seem like a very effective way to discourage lateness.  Singling students out on the P.A. system just seems to be another one of our school’s amusing tics, though a slightly disconcerting one.  Apparently, students cannot be trusted to walk to class without a voice telling them to do so and a camera trained on their backs.

Well, at least there will never be cameras in the classrooms, right?

“Girl with the blue jacket sitting in the second row of room 231, the answer to question 34 is actually B, not C.  Try a little harder next time, will you?”