Trespassing on public school property

Continuing the discussion from 33-year-old mother enrolled in high school as a 15-year-old:

Well, I was intrigued enough to start that different topic. Just curious what you mean here. Public land can have many uses, but the primary intended use of public school land is as a safe place for people to leave their children for the day so that they can receive an education by a trained professional, free from most distractions and also from the everyday risks that might attend them if they tried spending six hours a day in, say, an unattended public park.

Is there a good reason why such an establishment shouldn’t remain closed to random passersby who don’t actually have legitimate business with the school or the children working within?


It is the public themselves who establish what constitutes what “legitimate business” is on public property. Any “random passersby” are presumably the public also. It functions as a way to improve oversight in representative government, where public give some token “input” which is then acted upon in more or less arbitrary ways behind closed doors. It also serves to democratize the ever-spreading surveillance technologies, where public areas are surveiled with access hidden from the public. The hierarchical nature of representative bureaucracies means that there is more risk and greater damage done by decisions in the local town hall or police station than on the street corner, or home of the average citizen. So government officials need to be acclimatized to doing the jobs we elect and pay them for in full public view. It reduces the absurdities of us paying them to to tell us what they say we are having them do. (I know, that IS convoluted!)

What I am gradually working out the details of (among other things) is basically an automatic municipal key-card system. Instead of there being locked doors on town buildings, there are logged card slots. People who live in town are issued cards for access to town buildings, so that there is complete transparency as to what is done there.

Well, the motivation seems noble enough, but the execution will take a delicate touch. The “government officials” in this case are classroom teachers, and watching every move they make in the day-to-day of their jobs necessarily means watching every move the kids make as well… and that’s not just gonna make professional privacy advocates nervous, y’know.

My wife’s a schoolteacher in LAUSD, the second-largest public school district in the USA, and a dense, opaque, unwieldy, Kafkaesque bureaucracy if ever there was one. There’s a very, very strong need for disinfecting sunlight to penetrate the district HQ on Beaudry Avenue (we call the building The Humidifier since it looks just like one). But the privacy and safety concerns of the parents of the student body seriously need to be protected. It’s all very well and good for a Concerned Citizen to find out how effectively their tax dollars are being utilized to effectively educate the young, but there are policies and procedures currently in place to allow an (admittedly determined) person to do just that, without opening up the campus to just any old rando who feels like ambling through on their way to the 7-Eleven.


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