Erasing Shadows

How advancing the security systems could safeguard schools.
Erasing Shadows

“All it takes is one bad apple.” The age-old saying is a fan favorite among those who try to justify bigotry and prejudice. People say this all the time as reasoning for collective punishment, stereotypes, and harmful generalizations. We’d all love to deny this notion, to say that one mistake doesn’t represent a group, to think that individuals are responsible for their actions. Unfortunately, we live in a world where those dreams are simply that: dreams.

The fact of the matter is that people hate responsibility. People hate taking accountability. But does that mean that they act well to avoid those consequences that they so desperately try to avoid? Absolutely not. It simply means that they will find new ways to do whatever they want and keep getting away with it. There is no middle ground. There is no compromise. There is only satisfying one’s own desires at the cost of whatever comes between people and that ever so simple goal. While it is true that most people – and most living beings for that matter – have those innate thoughts, only few overcome the social conditioning we all undergo to act on them. This is why we end up having to treat everyone like they are a part of that minority. I know that I wouldn’t do anything out of line, I hope that you wouldn’t either, but you and I have to be treated as potential suspects at all times for when – not if – someone does have to be held accountable. I believe this code of conduct has to be applied whenever and wherever, especially on school grounds, where students are most prone to being victims of theft or bullying. The effectiveness to which this is possible cannot be guaranteed as security systems vary from one district to another, and one school to another. My experience with the Dearborn High School security system, particularly the camera system, hasn’t been a pleasant one and I believe that an overhaul is in everyone’s best interest. 

Some people may see this as pessimistic, but the cold harsh truth is that it’s only necessary. It does not please me that we must live like this as a precaution. It angers me that innocents have to watch their step even when doing normal things and pains me to know that anyone could suddenly have their days or even their lives turned around because of a senseless act resulting from a stranger’s random whims. Sadly, anger and the desire for something better never have and never will get anyone anywhere. Some things must be done, and that includes upgrading the current camera system. The very fact that the cameras have been left untouched for this long is an insult to all those who would have benefitted from it. Thankfully, the right people have finally picked this case up.

DHS principal Zeina Jebril said that the camera system was in dire need of a major update and that they’ve already begun renovating it. 

“You’re probably thinking there was a fight that happened that caused it. No, it’s not. It’s because they started malfunctioning because they’re very, very old. It happens a lot actually. It’s usually like one or two cameras, but the whole entire system has been giving us a hard time.” 

I’m glad to hear that Jebril recognizes both the importance and urgency of updating the camera system. Just the fact that the cameras were malfunctioning due to their age rather than some external problem should be enough proof that they are in need of technological advancements. As an advocate for a stronger security system, I share the same feelings that the assurance of security and safety is of utmost importance. 

Jebril said that due to previous incidents such as the fight during homecoming which transpired in the parking lot, installment of cameras there is a vital step towards creating a safer school environment.

“The parking lot is getting cameras too. That’s part of the new system. Because a lot of times when things happen in the parking lot, we don’t have our eyes out there, so the cameras will kind of be our eyes,” said Jebril. “There was a fight during homecoming. Yeah, so that kind of expedited the process. That made us realize that we need cameras more than we thought we did.”

Acknowledging these facts, it becomes clear that constant surveillance is a necessity in any setting where groups of people are expected to abide by any form of regulations. I realize that this may come off as overly cynical, but when a system is built in such a way that one individual has the power to break it, then the system is better off not existing. This is why I believe that upgrading the cameras is an absolute must at DHS, and that under no circumstance should they be left to deteriorate. All it takes is for one person out of the hundreds of students attending on any day to do something reprehensible for the security system’s value to become evident. It just so happens that I have experienced, on multiple occasions, the issues that arise when one person feels too comfortable doing whatever they want. 

It’s a horrible feeling when you know you’ve fallen victim to someone’s whims, it’s an indescribable combination of everyday emotions that we all know too well. It may have been evident throughout this essay that I am a very opinionated person when it comes to the topic of cameras. This is because I, like all living beings, have finally learned from my own predicaments. In one particular instance, I had a protein shaker bottle taken right out of my bag in broad daylight, in the middle of an ongoing class. This may seem like a small incident to some, but to those who understand that different people are going through different things it must be clear why I’ve made this into such a big deal. The shaker was the first piece of equipment I’d purchased to supplement my weightlifting hobby. This shaker signified the start of taking my personal health seriously, it symbolized my first step into the never-ending self improvement journey. So when this shaker was taken from me, I was understandably angered, even more so than I would’ve been had I simply lost the shaker. The knowledge that I would still own what was mine had it not been for a person’s random desire to take it burns my soul with an inextinguishable flame of rage. Of course, I tried fighting for what is mine and immediately sought out to consult the office to view the cameras. Unfortunately, the cameras hadn’t caught the perpetrator and my shaker remains lost, my current shaker is purposely ugly to ensure that no one would want to steal it. This isn’t even the only example of this injustice I have, as on another occasion, an unnamed person took the initiative to open my bag and claim a 50 dollar bill as theirs. Fortunately, this happened during lunch and the cameras had caught this in action, I have since happily spent that 50 dollar bill as I please. Both of these instances have happened in the past scholastic year, which leads me to believe that this happens hundreds of times at DHS alone. One of these instances was resolved easily due to the cameras’ effectiveness, while another wasn’t due to the cameras’ impotency. Both of these instances as well as the hundreds of others would indubitably benefit from an improved camera system. 

Even though I have advocated for the camera system, even though I have justified inconveniencing the majority just to account for the probability that one person may need to be prosecuted, I still believe that nothing would be as effective as taking responsibility for oneself. It is truly a tragedy that innocents must pay the price for the actions of the guilty, but that is simply the nature of the world that we live in- one that has been built upon a foundation of innocent people’s stolen rights. I do hope that we will see the day where such systems will not be needed to function as a society, but for now, I don’t think that’s possible.

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