Students who went on strike over CCTVs in classroom speak

Leia Clancy and Sam Goodman, two of the English students who staged a strike when they discovered CCTV cameras had been installed in their classrooms have written an impassioned-but-reasoned op-ed about their desire to be educated without surveillance. I was so inspired by these kids' story that I asked my British publisher, HarperCollins, to send them a case of copies of Little Brother, my novel about young people who fight off government surveillance.

It turned out that our entire class was angry or confused over the cameras. Out of a class of 18 students, 17 felt uncomfortable with the idea and decided to boycott the room until the issue, and the students, were addressed. This was a difficult decision as we were three months away from exams and we had five lessons a fortnight in the room. The student body was supportive and a petition gained over 130 signatures from the sixth-form…

Many users suggested that cameras were a good idea because they could be used to keep an eye on bullying and student behaviour, we were accused of been "narcissistic megalomaniacs" angry at "being nabbed for our churlish troublemaking". This stereotypical and frankly ignorant view ignores the fact that Davenant Foundation School produces some of the best exam results in Essex. Violent behaviour among pupils is simply not an issue, making the justification for putting cameras in our classrooms more surprising.

Adults are often quick to define the youth of today as stereotypical troublemakers and violent offenders – generalisations which are prompted by the media – when in fact the majority of students at our school are as responsible and arguably better behaved then the majority of adults. Some commentators insinuated that we overheard adults talking about rights and repeated it. That notion isn't worth the space it was typed upon. We are A-level politics students who have been studying civil liberties as part of the curriculum for the last two years…

Eroding standards in schools and deteriorating discipline are down to a broken society and the failure of the education system. The truth is that we are whatever the generation before us has created. If you criticise us, we are your failures; and if you applaud us we are your successes, and we reflect the imperfections of society and of human life.

We don't need no CCTV in our classroom

(Thanks, Cassidy!)