Student suspended for "stealing" bathroom spy camera
Two weeks ago we reported the story of a school superintendent in Texas who placed a hidden camera in the female restroom at the district's administration building. He was suspended from his job and is facing criminal charges. Last week in Georgia there was a similar drama -- with a very different outcome. The principal of a high school in Jasper County was found to have placed a camera in a boy's restroom. An eight-grade student discovered the camera mounted in the ceiling and ripped it out.
When the shit hit the fan, what happened to the principal? Nothing. And what about the student, Mack Bedor, who discovered and removed the camera? He got a one-week suspension for stealing school property. Principal Howard Fore says he installed the camera to discover who had been vandalizing the restrooms, which are shared by the high school and middle school. Howard Simms, the District Attorney of Bibb County, claims that this surveillance was legal because schools have more leeway on privacy issues. In other words, he believes that kids surrender some of their rights when they are forced to attend school.
Mr. Fore's explanation leaves unanswered the question of why he didn't consult with the middle school principal or the teachers before he chiseled a hole in the ceiling tiles and stuck a camera up there. They knew nothing about it. We might like to hide a camera in the principal's office to see what he does when the door is closed or search his home to see what he's got in his video collection -- but as much as we might like to, this would be illegal unless we obtained a search warrant.
And rightly so. Principal Fore's determination to set ethics aside to catch the guys trashing the restroom -- if indeed that was what this was about -- may be in part a sign of these torture-tolerant times. But additionally, there is a long history of treating school kids with "more leeway" than we treat their parents. And the way many schools try to regulate students' bladders and colons is certainly one of the more outrageous of these double-standards. For example, here are restroom rules I found a few months ago posted by one Mr. Eastham, a teacher chemistry at Hughson High School in California:
- No restroom passes during the first 10 minutes or the last 15 minutes of class.
- Time limit for the restroom pass is 3 minutes.
- Only one student at a time may go to the restroom at a time.
Got that? If my employer imposed those kinds of regulations, and I didn't have the option of quitting the job, I'd probably brush up on my vandalizing skills, too.
As advocates for Shameless Shitting, we should do all we can to secure reasonable access to toilets in our children's schools, with the assurance that not for any reason will they be videotaped (or viewed through creepholes) while in there. Not even to catch mischief makers.