Hot n’ Heavy in the Hudson
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Officials at Stuyvesant High School are currently under fire for possession of “ludicrous” amounts of child pornography. The school is outfitted with security cameras throughout the halls and stairways for the safety of staff and students, but as teenagers begin to explore their budding sexualities, the cameras may have caught less than appropriate actions. Sophomore Wird Idout, who has a boyfriend, said “There are cameras in all of the high traffic areas for ‘getting to know’ your partner. At this point, I’m starting to think it’s deliberate.”
According to a security officer at the school, “We catch these students all the time on our patrols. It’s awkward for us, and it’s awkward for them. Our monitors show us an alternating feed, so we’ve never noticed those ‘activities’ from our desks—or at least we’ve tried not to—but from the number of students we’ve caught, there could be hours of footage in our archives. I just don’t see how someone can see a bleak gray stairwell and think “Wow! This is so hot!” This poses a problem for Stuyvesant because the footage is stored on the school’s private server as a security measure, and in order to purge the pornography, a full reset would be necessary.
Unfortunately, the server also contains footage of students loitering in areas other than the first, second, and half floors, the only floors where congregating is allowed. Thus, the school faces another unique dilemma: let students who congregate outside of these floors get away with their crimes or keep all of the child porn, which is technically a felony. The issue is made more complex by the fact that after the initial server wipe, there’s no way to ensure that students will no longer be caught on film without consuming the sexual content. “We don’t have the means to enforce our school’s ban on public displays of affection without releasing the footage, and so, more often than not, students go unpunished for their explorations of anatomy,” Moran explained.
The problem expands beyond just the camera. Students and faculty alike are unfortunately affected by the “passions” shared throughout the building. Custodial staff is known to often deal with what they have dubbed “misfires” in the Hudson staircase. Not only are misfires unsanitary, but they also pose a safety risk to students. “I was rushing from the music hall to my locker. As I opened the door to the Hudson, I slipped on what looked like hand soap, but it reeked of something rancid. I sprained my wrist breaking my fall,” recounted sophomore Fa Cinklutz wearing a wrist brace. Aside from physical injury, many students also experience mental scarring from their experiences. Senior Lexie Sherhall cited her experiences in Lecture Hall B through tears. “I had a class scheduled there after my lunch period,” she said. “I showed up early and sat on my phone for a bit. Everything was fine until I began hearing these boyish grunts and unenthusiastic moans. I was scared. In my rush to get out of there, I saw everything. It was horrible. I even shared a class with one of them.”
Despite the widespread complaints, Stuyvesant’s administration has done little to alleviate the concerns of both students caught on tape and those who want an end to their classmates’ lascivious rendezvous. The Student Union proposes that members of ARISTA can earn community service hours by signing up to spend their free periods in “high traffic areas” and act as deterrents to illicit activity. Though this initiative is in the works, curbing adolescent desire remains a tough nut to bust.