Schools Have Become Prisons, According To Documentary Film

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Documentary film, “The War on Kids”, by Spectacle Films, Inc., explores the oppressive prison-like authoritarian structure of modern schools.

War on Kids

Children, the film argues, have become an oppressed underclass widely perceived as a problem group to be controlled and subjugated. Schools are merely institutions in which this subjugation is imposed at the expense of student enrichment.

Documentary film, The War on Kids, by filmmaker Cevin Soling, offers a glimpse at what Soling sees as the gross institutional dysfunction of modern public schools. Soling asserts that through mindless rote application of “zero tolerance” policies -- as well as fear-driven, over-reactive anti-drug and anti-violence measures -- schools, the film argues, have become little more than prisons for children.

The film portrays public schools surrounded by surveillance cameras, subject to sudden searches, and monitored by armed security guards, students suffer an environment of total oppression. One poignant segment of the film shows images of both prisons and schools while a group of children try to determine which is which, often becoming confused and uncertain as the similarities between barred and fortified edifices overwhelm the differences. Nor are such confusions confined to outward appearances, as the film goes on to show viewers the identical nature of school and prison security checks and weapon-detection measures.

Harrowing footage shows a little girl being handcuffed and arrested by officers; students being rounded up and made to lie on the floor as an armed SWAT team train their sites on terrorized kids being sniffed-out by drug-seeking K9 units. Example after example of common sense-defying applications of “zero tolerance” policies highlight what Soling sees as an autocratic insanity that has infested the public education system, overwhelming reason.

Children, the film argues, have become an oppressed underclass widely perceived as a problem group to be controlled and subjugated. Schools, according to Soling, are merely institutions in which this subjugation is imposed at the expense of student enrichment.

Further building the film’s argument that this fascistic “educational” system is indeed a “war on kids”, rather than an overzealous war on drugs and violence, viewers are presented with disturbing facts and testimony regarding the over-medication of students with powerful psychotropic drugs which, the film suggests, are used to turn children into sedate and manageable classroom captives.

Beyond an immediate call to end the current suffering of an oppressed student population,The War on Kids leaves viewers to ponder hard questions about our educational system and ultimately the types of citizens this institution is likely to produce. What is the overall effect upon a culture in which children are taught conformity to subjugation and reliance upon behavior modifying drugs? What becomes of a childhood population that has been kept under constant surveillance, made docile and obedient? Can such a population, indoctrinated into a fascist institution be expected to uphold, or even recognize, democratic ideals in their adulthood?

The answers are elusive, but The War on Kids is a bold and necessary first-step toward confronting the problem.

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Cevin Soling
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