The Dangers of Surveillance in K12 Schools: Civil Rights Organizations Call for a Ban

Is it acceptable for schools to receive funding for surveillance technology?

A group of over 40 civil rights organizations has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Education expressing their concerns about the use of surveillance technology in K12 schools. They believe that this technology can lead to increased police presence in schools, greater contact between police and students, exclusionary discipline, and school pushout, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities like Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth.

The letter demands a ban on the use of federal funds for surveillance technologies and urges the agency to divest discretionary appropriations from funding police surveillance hardware. Additionally, it recommends providing technical guidance to school districts to conduct audits ensuring legal compliance with AI and big data technologies. The authors also suggest studying surveillance tools and other algorithmic technologies to understand their risks to public schools.

While several states have taken steps to address the misuse of surveillance technology in public schools, such as banning facial recognition technology in New York, the authors argue that more action is needed to protect students, families, and educators from its harmful effects. They call on the Department of Education to take immediate action to end the dangerous transformation of America’s public schools.

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