The Story Ends With a Beep
December 20th, 2006
Swipe. Beep. Done. I was shocked. All the ideas meant to slow down the new ID scanners became useless in a matter of seconds. The plans wouldn’t work at all, not at the speed the scanners took in data. I vowed to find a new way to make the administration rethink the presence of these devices at Stuyvesant.
That was nine months ago. Needless to say, things have changed since then.
Another swipe. Another beep. Once again done. Over the course of the last nine months, the daily reality of the scanners has weakened my intention to destroy them. Some mornings when I scan in, I am even happy to see students receiving lollipops after a scanner announces their birthday with its familiar jingle. I can’t remember the last time I tried to slow down the scanner’s efficiency. And most of my fellow classmates, who were also once against them, seem to give them no notice at all.
On the other hand, when they were first introduced, we had no idea what to expect from the scanners, and many students, especially the seniors, were therefore strongly opposed. Students felt that they would invade our privacy, limit our freedom and display a lack of trust in the student-administration relationship. Seniors organized specific plans for assumed scanner test days, gathered students and formed a sense of unity among the respective grades. There were threats of a student walkout, proposed marches and attempts to slow down the scanners. The actions of the students successfully brought about a compromise with the administration—scanning would be limited to the morning instead of the intended full-time use.
Now, Principal Stanley Teitel has proposed to ignore this agreement and institute the scanners full-time. I expected the student apathy that has slowly surfaced over the past months to change and anticipated another round of student protests. Student Union President George Zisiadis said, “They take away the sense of freedom that our school is supposed to represent.” Zisiadis feels that the scanners serve a constructive purpose in the morning, but full-time scanners creates an image of student right suppression.
Yet, as a whole, the student body barely noticed. There has been little response and no strong call to student action. Everyone has seemingly forgotten the student unity of last year. As sophomore Arta Perezic said, “I was pretty angry about the scanners but once they installed them, I realized it was no big deal.”
So why don’t we care anymore? I know my personal reasons. Nine months ago, when the ID scanners were introduced, I had three consecutive free periods, the first being lunch. It was a schedule that allowed me a freedom threatened by the possibility of full-time scanners. Now, with 11 periods, I am just too busy to care.
We have realized that the scanners aren’t meant to limit anyone’s freedom. They simply allow the administration to take attendance. Teitel said, “Only students who intend on doing wrong have to worry about the scanners. Everyone else has nothing to worry about from me.” Gradually, we have come to accept this by giving in to what the administration wants even though there are still some who disagree.
Incoming freshmen, though, are new to the restrictions. Danielle Fernandes (‘06) said, “[…] as time goes by, it seems that there are more limits are being placed on students. And the newer students really do not know what Stuy used to be like.”
Because this is a struggle we no longer choose to make, new policies are implemented and inexperienced underclassmen then accept them. Liberties that we, as students, once enjoyed are becoming increasingly limited. It’s disturbing that after the Class of 2009 graduates, the scanners will be just another part of Stuy. The anger and debate over their introduction will be little more than a myth.