Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Big Brother is watching

I don’t normally pay much attention to local TV news, but the other night I saw a report on KSAT, the local ABC affiliate, that I found to be very disturbing. It was part of the station’s Defenders Investigations in which they respond to viewer tips and look into various city shenanigans. But the segment the other night was something straight out of George Orwell’s “1984” with the local TV station happily playing the role of Big Brother.

It seems that the stationed was tipped off that a band director at a local school had been taking off time during the middle of the day to run errands or whatever and was missing classes as a result. I assume there was probably an assistant band director leading the classes during these times, but they failed to address that point. Instead the station decided to use video surveillance techniques to follow the band director around and see where he was going. They then confronted him on camera at his home to throw their accusations in his face. Only then did they go back to the school administrators for comment and reaction. At the end of the report they triumphantly announced that the band director had been placed on administrative leave.

This really disgusted me not because I think a teacher should be allowed to skip out of classes whenever they feel like it, but because this was clearly a personnel matter for the school administration that should have been handled behind closed doors. There was no reason why it needed to be splashed all over my television screen just to add humiliation to whatever other punishment the school might mete out. The fact that the TV station tried to play this up into some kind of scandal was pathetic and was an abuse of thier power.

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