June 21, 2024

Uniting against Surveillance: Civil Rights Organizations Urge Ban on K12 School Technology Amid Growing Concerns

1 min read
Is it acceptable for schools to receive funding for surveillance technology?

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

The letter demands a ban on federal funds for surveillance technologies and urges the agency to divest discretionary appropriations from funding police surveillance hardware. It also recommends providing technical guidance to support school districts in conducting audits to ensure legal compliance of AI and big data technologies. Additionally, the letter suggests 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, 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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