November 11, 2021

Volume XXXII, Issue XVIII

Editor's Note

Dear reader, This school year marked the start of a potentially dramatic shift in the state of policing and surveillance in Boston public schools. City and state legal reforms to the authority of both the Boston Police Department and school police officers mean a decades-old surveillance state — as well as a recent communications network between school police officers, BPD officers, and federal immigration officials — may begin to unravel. But teachers, parents, and advocates alike are unsure what, exactly, new limits set on the police mean for students, or whether a few laws can really upend such a system that has targeted Black and brown youth since its inception. This week’s cover story, by REJC, begins with the origins of policing in Boston public schools and traces its evolution to a present-day iteration in which a mysterious “gang assessment database” contains information on dozens, if not hundreds, of adolescents and young adults — many of them racial minorities and immigrants. With the future of the Boston public school surveillance state unclear, it is more important than ever to understand, as exactly as possible, the various forms it has taken in the past. The rest of the content is just as stellar: Reporting on a different sort of change to schools, MGB and DRZ tell us about how the Cambridge Public Library system has eliminated late fines and the implications that has for its openness and inclusivity. IYG and AKM bring the question of school and space closer to home, looking back at the origins of the housing lottery 25 years ago. HVK and JKW then go to a house, Kirkland, and tell us about the weirdness of its weekly “Choosening” ceremony — but we won’t spoil it. Adding to our growing line-up of profiles of student start-up apps, AMB and BWF talk to the creators of Monolog, an app that uses your words to try and understand and help your emotional state. KLS and SEW profile Mauricio S. Cunha, a stunning visual artist and longtime janitor at Harvard libraries who currently works at Widener. AKM pokes some fun at Starbucks and the temporal ordering of our universe through late-industrial capitalism. And KSG brings it home with a moving, beautifully-written introspection about “derealization,” the persistent feeling that things are not real, that space and time are distorting around you. Read on, and take care. Love, MNW & OGO