School Facial Recognition System Gets $1.4 Million But Is It A Reach And Overselling Of What The Technology Can Do?

We recently had a school district in our city sensationally announce in the local paper that they are working with a consultant and manufacturer to install 300+ facial and object recognition cameras throughout the district. The value of the contract is in the neighborhood of 3 million dollars. There are claims in the article of how accurate the software is and how much safer the school district will be. The main objectives identified are to identify known bad actors and weapons and alert when detected.

It is perplexing as to how or why a K-12 district would spend this much money on this solution. It seems that kind of money could have been more wisely spent on hardening the buildings or installing metal detectors. Even with this technology in place, a shooter could still open fire and create considerable damage before being subdued. I see the practical usage of facial recognition at entry points to buildings, but 300+ to enable object recognition throughout seems like one heck of a sales job on the part of the consultant.

To me, the decision to move ahead with the above solution appears like a pander by the district to the school board and worried parents that cutting edge technology is going to keep their kids safe. I think this is a reach and overselling of what the technology can do.

What do others think that work in schools and on school safety? What new technologies do you think are cost effective and actually do improve school safety in the age of teenage shooters?

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