Security or privacy:
The debate has begun as the Walpole, MA school administration has broached a proposal to increase the security measures in the public schools. Over the last decade, violence and threats of violence have erupted in many public places in our country. Tragedies have been reported as assailants have entered school buildings (private and public), shopping malls, and theaters. Families have mourned the loss of loved ones in the ensuing debacles.
While public safety authorities and legislators look for measures to prevent these occurrences of violence upon our citizens, public administrators of schools and libraries and courthouses seek measures to prevent the unwanted entry of ‘terrorists’ into their respective areas of responsibility.
The superintendent of schools in Walpole has sought the opinion of public safety officials and has proffered the use of cameras in the schools to monitor suspicious or malicious activity in the schools.
The idea of the use of cameras is not new – stores, ATM’s, banks, and many institutions have employed them for some time.
But, the students at the schools suggest that there might be an unintended consequence of installing such monitoring devices within the hallways of the schools. Students walking from class to class in groups, others chatting by their lockers, and teachers mingling with the students will be under the scrutiny of the surveillance.
And so, the debate has raised the issue of the use of security measures while inhibiting the ordinary experience of social action in the area.
Here are some questions to ponder.
- Who will have the need to know in order to view the monitor screening?
- Will the cameras be deployed so as to scan the students’ locker contents?
- Will such use of such security measures symbolize the intrusion of government on its citizens?
- Will the use of such monitoring be an effective deterrent or merely a recording device?
The question is now open for dialogue and discernment.
Back to regular writing: well, thank you to my friends. It’s back to the discipline of musing of the week and offering of my thoughts on what is capturing the attention of the community/world- wherever you are.
For Roman Catholics, and for those who observe the variegated travails of members of the faith, this is the week of weeks – preparing for the conclave in which the college of cardinals will prepare for and enter into an historical event wherein it selects a new pope (the bishop of Rome) while Pope emeritus Benedict begins his time of retirement.
Precedent has been established; a modern day Pope without taint of ridicule or scandal has decided to step aside; a pope has accepted the reality that age and infirmity has overcome his ability to perform his responsibility to which he was allotted.
In a few short weeks, the Church will receive a new pope and embark on a fresh approach to manifesting Catholicism to the world.
A precedent, though, has been established that a pope may determine that he is no longer capable of continuing in office – an alert to all officeholders in secular or religious affiliations.
It is never for any reason that we reason with and for due diligence.
To be continued as the week progresses.
Vigil against Violence
In response to the tragic events in Newtown, CT last Friday, the Interfaith Religious Leaders of Sharon, MA are sponsoring a Vigil against Violence on Thursday, December 20, 2012, 4:00-8:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Church, located at 4 North Main Street in Sharon. All ages are welcome. Participants are welcome to come and go for any part of the four hour vigil. Each hour will include talks by various interfaith religious leaders, opportunities for participants to share thoughts and feelings with each other and with the larger group, ways to remember those who died, silence and music, and suggestions for action. Additional parking will be available at the First Congregational Church, 29 North Main Street.
The December 20 gathering will inaugurate a month-long Vigil against Violence which will culminate on January 21, 2013 – the holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the great modern day prophet of nonviolence. This month will give each of us the opportunity to be more aware of, sensitive to, and vigilant against violence in our society and culture and even within each of our lives.
The Nature of things so rare: I stepped outside to see the confluence of the effects of the wind, rain, and the drama of it all – darkness at noon, loss of electricity, the suspense of what to expect, and the return of electricity and a quiet supper. It is 10:00 pm. in Walpole, MA. The clouds are drifting through the sky as icons of better times and obfuscating the full moon but for a few moments. Then, for a few seconds, the orb of light dominates all – the presage of tomorrow and more.
First, I hope everyone is enjoying the summer. This is a quick update on the status of the Committee. I wanted to let you know first, that Carol Lane, Sheila Ahmed and Tim Williams have graciously accepted re-appointments to three year terms. It is a tremendous benefit to the town of Walpole to have all three of them back. The two new members I have appointed are Michael Iwanowicz and Donna DiCenso. Each has a very interesting and accomplished background, and I am confident they will make excellent additions to the Committee.
I have known Mike Iwanowicz for almost 20 years since when we were close neighbors in Swan Pond. Mike is currently the deacon at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic church in Sharon, MA, – Mike was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 1976, has worked for forty years in the computer field, and earned his MBA from Babson College in 1969. Mike served a term on the school committee back in the 1990′s. You also may have seen Mike on Walpole Cable Television where he hosts a regular show. My recent conversations with Mike revealed his uncanny grasp of and insight into all of the major issues Walpole is facing these days, which will enable him to make significant contributions to the committee’s work right from the get go.
Donna and her husband have a young son and has been in East Walpole for 12 years. Donna graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude. She has more than 20 years experience as an asset manager with financial institutions in Boston and in New York City. In her most recent position as a Vice President, Donna was responsible for the overall portfoio performance of 90 multifamily residential properties (16,522 units) in the Northeast and South Florida. She has been responsible for the oversight of capital expenditures in excess of $50 million dollars. Donna is also a new RTM from Precinct 1, and from talking with Donna I know she will bring a refreshingly discerning eye to all of Walpole’s issues, fiscal and otherwise.
Please join me in welcoming Mike and Donna to the Committee – I am sure they will be at your next meeting. As always, thank you for the incredible amount of work you do for the town of Walpole. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Here’s the talking points for an interview I taped for cable TV with a current graduated student who will matriculate in the fall to a university school.
“The Cusp of Life
* Leaving the shelter of public education, the ties of family, and the safety net of the ‘village’.
* Entering university life amid a teeming and diverse (ethnically and demographically) foreign city.
* Seeking a wider vision of life without the proximate influence of family.
* Forging new relationships and breaking the bonds of tradition and customs.
* Assimilating an expansive view of culture and language and the world.
* Being at home with challenges and life changes that occur at random – the inexplicable and oft serendipitous occurrences.
*Celebrating this epoch of your life.
Listening: I have offered before a sense of the criticality of listening as a central component to dialogue. Inherent in ‘listening’ is the care to allow the other’s perspective to settle in. Think carefully about what was said. It might be best to respond in silence; it might be reasonable to offer a temperate opinion from your own experience; but, in my thinking, it is best not to respond as if you have ownership to a final statement. Allow for the dialogue to press on.