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

Coalition Warns Against Dangers of Surveillance Technology in K12 Schools: Protecting the Rights of Marginalized Youth from Escalating School-to-Prison Pipeline

In an effort to protect the rights of students and communities, a coalition of over 40 civil rights organizations has written to the U.S. Department of Education warning against the dangers of increased surveillance technology in K12 schools. The letter argues that such measures could lead to a dangerous escalation in the school-to-prison pipeline and the criminalization of marginalized youth, particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous students.

According to the letter, surveillance technologies can have a negative impact on students, resulting in greater police presence, increased police contact with students, exclusionary discipline, and school pushout. The coalition strongly urges the Department of Education to ban federal funds from being used for purchasing surveillance equipment that uses artificial intelligence.

The coalition has also provided six recommendations to protect marginalized communities from technology-enabled rights abuses. These include divesting discretionary agency funding from police surveillance hardware, conducting algorithmic impact audits to ensure legal compliance of AI and big data technologies, studying the risks associated with surveillance tools in public schools, and involving youth and young adults in AI data privacy governance.

While some states have taken steps to address this issue at a local level, there is still work to be done at a national level. The coalition emphasizes the need for immediate action to prevent America’s public schools from becoming spaces of increased surveillance and potential harm to students.

In conclusion, it is crucial for policymakers and educators alike to recognize the potential dangers that come with increased surveillance technology in K12 schools. By taking action now, we can help ensure that our schools remain safe spaces where all students can learn without fear of discrimination or harm.

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