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Technological School Safety Initiatives: Considerations to Protect All Students

The Brennan Center & the Center for Democracy and Technology have released a new resource with cautions and recommendations for schools that plan to introduce tech-based safety initiatives.

Published: June 4, 2019

A series of recent school shoot­ings have focused nation­wide atten­tion on the prob­lems facing kids in schools. School admin­is­trat­ors are scram­bling for solu­tions to address not only gun viol­ence but also bully­ing and threats of self-harm. Tech-based school safety initi­at­ives are partic­u­larly attract­ive in the current climate due to recent rapid advance­ments in secur­ity tech­no­lo­gies, wide­spread use of social media, and tight budget constraints. Unfor­tu­nately, many proposed initi­at­ives pose their own threats to students: irre­spons­ible imple­ment­a­tion could endanger student privacy, harm free expres­sion, and exacer­bate discrim­in­at­ory discip­line of margin­al­ized students.

Together with the Center for Demo­cracy and Tech­no­logy, the Bren­nan Center today is releas­ing recom­mend­a­tions for poli­cy­makers and educat­ors to consider when weigh­ing the costs and bene­fits of any new tech­no­lo­gies to be released in schools. In addi­tion to concrete actions for lead­ers to take, we urge all decision-makers to be dili­gent in eval­u­at­ing the effic­acy of these tech­no­lo­gies along­side the poten­tially harm­ful effects.

The desire to do some­thing, anything, to stem viol­ence in schools is under­stand­able and admir­able. But without proper plan­ning and imple­ment­a­tion, these tech-based school safety initi­at­ives could hurt kids more than they would help. 

See the recom­mend­a­tions here.