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Equity in Civic Technology, Privacy & Data

Technological School Safety Initiatives: Considerations to Protect All Students

Schools, districts, and states are turning to data and technology to address school safety issues such as shootings, bullying, and self-harm. Despite the growing recognition of poor data quality and limited research on school safety, federal and state policymakers are recommending increased use of technological school safety initiatives to improve school safety.

The tech-based school safety initiatives that are being discussed include integrating students’ education data with other types of personal information; expanding data access to more entities, especially law enforcement; surveilling social media and email; providing law enforcement with real-time access to school video cameras; deploying facial recognition; creating databases that track behavior threat assessments and are accessible by multiple stakeholders; and promoting anonymous reporting tools.

However, these initiatives have the potential to harm the students they are intended to protect. Our student privacy team, alongside the Brennan Center, developed this two-pager to lay out considerations to protect all students, as well as actions for education leaders and policymakers.