Big Brother is Watching You Read! Man in Library Infringes on Students’ Personal Freedom

Isaac Stein ’12
Staff Writer / CC BY 2.0

Four tests in six hours. Somehow, I need to find solace in doing something completely unproductive for at least 15 minutes of my free period.

It’s period seven, so the cafeteria is closed and I can’t find a sandwich to alleviate my problems. I, instead, look to the library: with my trusty laptop in hand, I might as well sit down and play a game. It’s quiet and warm in the library, an ideal environment for studying— or a short break.

I sit down in the far back of the library, in the section where talking is prohibited. I’m not going here for my own benefit— I’m merely trying to avoid the secret police.

As I begin to roll the virtual dice in a round of “Risk,” the hard drive on my Mac begins to whir and overheat. As I glance over my shoulder, I see the silhouette of an enforcement officer. His piercing glance seems to generate heat all on its own.

Australia has been conquered just as I look back again. I can see the patrolman closing in. I try my best to minimize, minimize….

“What are you doing?” he says.

I attempt to give a response, but he cuts me off in the process.

“There’s a NEW library policy. It is unacceptable to play games in the library!”

“But it’s my—”

“I DON’T CARE if it is your computer! You’ll have to find something more productive to do, OR LEAVE!”

This man, who is taking my computer-game playing entirely out of context, kicks me out of the library.

I could understand if I was using a school computer, thus taking away educational resources from a fellow student. But in this case, I am using my own computer. My only offense is taking up space in a room that’s only at about a third full.

Furthermore, “Risk,” which is a traditional board game, is borderline educational compared to most modern computer games. Today’s games usually involve blasting off the heads of a supposed enemy.

The new laws in the library are in an isolated section of the school, but similar policies have the potential to creep into other aspects of student life.

Cameras in the bathroom, security officers patrolling the halls, and a limit on noise levels in the cafeteria suddenly don’t sound so far-fetched.

Arbitrary rules and injustice are the result of a populace that is willing to accept them. To end this slippery slope of authoritarianism, the student body must question shady practices until they have been soundly annihilated.

There’s a fine line between sound security and overbearing authority.

The school system may get away with being a constant source of stress and serving us mediocre lunch food with a smile, but it can never usurp our freedom!