Statement on New High-Tech School Security Projects

Approved Through Smart Schools Bond Act

For Immediate Release: February 26, 2020

Media contact: Ben Schaefer, bschaefer@nyclu.org, 212-607-3372

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the approval of $111 million for 133 new Smart Schools Bond Act, including $51.5 million for high-tech security projects like the facial recognition system currently running in the Lockport City School District.

In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union released the following statement from Director of the Education Policy Center, Johanna Miller:

“The amount of funding for high-tech security projects approved today is greater than the amount for classroom tech, pre-k classrooms, and school connectivity projects combined. State funding could be used to transform the education and experiences of students, but instead we’re seeing this money diverted toward invasive surveillance systems that don’t work and make students feel like criminals in school. In the Lockport City School District alone $3 million was used to buy a facial recognition program – at the cost of $550 a student.

The Smart Schools Bond Act lacks the oversight and transparency it needs to improve schools. The state shouldn’t approve any additional applications for high tech security projects until it creates appropriate protections for student privacy.”

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