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[Susan notes: This letter writer asks: When will we recognize that treating children like prisoners does not enable them to become contributing, engaged, ethical members of society?

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Published in New York Times
09/27/2003

To the editor

Re "Cameras Watching Students, Especially in Biloxi" (news article, Sept. 24):



In 1791, Jeremy Bentham published his design of the panopticon: a circular prison in which the prisoners along the perimeter could be observed at all times by a guard in a central tower. The prisoners would never know at what times they were being observed, nor could they observe the guards.



The panopticon of surveillance that has long existed in schools has reached a new, frightening level in Biloxi, Miss., and other school districts that install cameras in school classrooms. When will we recognize that treating children like prisoners does not enable them to become contributing, engaged, ethical members of society?



Mary Bushnell, Queens College, CUNY


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