Invading Privacy for Publicity

District security checks make students less secure

Brooke Butler, Opinion/News Editor

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Broward County Public Schools has enacted a new policy that allows random searches of middle and high school students. Different middle and high schools across the district will be chosen to have security checks in randomized classrooms, and only the principal will know the night before that their school will be checked.  

A group of the district’s security guards will arrive at the school and inform the administration which classrooms they are going to search. Administration will go to the class, let the teacher know and allow the security guards to search through the students’ bags.

“We have no idea how frequent these searches will be,” assistant principal Derek Gordon said. “When they say random, they do mean random.

The school itself will have no say in when or where the searches take place. The district is entirely responsible for organizing these searches, and the principal may not give anyone prior notice. 

The school was selected for a search on Sept. 6, and Doreen Stephenson’s freshman biology class was one of those selected for the search. Students were instructed to line up against a wall outside the classroom and leave their backpacks to be searched.  

“I felt violated when they made me open my bag to search my personal belongings,” said a freshman, who did not want their name associated with the security search.

“After banging on our door, they made us line up like we were in trouble for something,” another anonymous freshman said.

The security checks make students feel more uncomfortable than safe. With sudden disruptions in the class and strangers rummaging through their bags, it’s hard to see how the new procedure is beneficial. 

While it is intended to find dangerous items and discourage students from bringing them, the searches will primarily do more harm than good. 

Small items— such as drugs and knives — can easily be put in a student’s pocket before search, and it’s highly unlikely that security will find large dangerous items like guns. 

Besides violating a student’s privacy, random searches cause a major disruption in class. Students and teachers will have to spend a chunk of their class time waiting for backpacks to be searched and ultimately wasting their time.   

School safety is extremely important, but it’s hard to see how the new bag searches will help. It seems that the new security measure is more focused on saying the county is protecting students than actually doing so.

Disruptive and invasive security will only make students uneasy: the exact opposite of security’s job.