Coalition Calls on U.S. Department of Education to Ban Surveillance Technology in K12 Schools

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

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

In their letter, the coalition calls for a ban on the use of federal funds for surveillance technologies and urges the agency to divest discretionary appropriations from funding police surveillance hardware. They also recommend providing technical guidance to support school districts in conducting audits to ensure legal compliance of AI and big data technologies. Furthermore, they suggest studying surveillance tools and other algorithmic technologies to understand the risks they pose to public schools.

Although 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 urge the Department of Education to take immediate action to end the dangerous transformation of America’s public schools.

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