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I live right across from a school, so that does not work for me. Its a grade school too, but I am guessing most schools don't allow children to bring in electronics so that won't work. Those that get some at the schoolyard's must be extremely lucky, also we don't have a schoolyard here.
Technically if you keep it in a bag with streetpass on no one will even know its there, it doesn't make any noise or do anything but sit in your bag.
However if I go to the mall, a certain mall here that attracts a ton of tourists I can usually get 1-2 streetpass hits. I also suspect some retail workers are playing the 3DS while on break and then stashing it in their bags in the back room or keeping it in their pockets or somewhere hidden while they work register. If I worked retail I would be doing the same thing. You can also streetpass demo units which is basically the same thing as streetpassing a normal 3DS, but the ones at Best Buy don't work because of Nintendo Zone.