Critic: High-Tech School Security Does Little, Students Feel Less Safe


School districts spend millions of dollars on high-tech systems they hope will keep students safe and buildings secure. The Tennessean reports that Vanderbilt University Prof. Torin Monahan argues in a new book that high-tech security, police officers in schools, and zero-tolerance policies for drugs and violence do little to deter crime and may make students feel less safe by suggesting that adults distrust and fear them.

Metro Nashville schools alone boast a $2.2 million security budget that funds 1,425 surveillance cameras, 121 entryway security stations that allow visitors to be labeled with badges that display their picture, at least two hand-held metal detector wands in every school and four walkthrough metal detectors that can be moved from building to building at need. In “Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education, Monahan and other authors found no difference in the crime rate at schools with heightened security systems – cameras, armed guards, frequent pat-downs and weapons checks, even some with barbed-wire perimeters – and at comparable schools without such measures.

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