Our kids are heading back to school—some online, some in person. While many schools are working to make sure our kids are safe, other schools are considering invasive surveillance tech like facial recognition that will put them in danger. Putting our kids under constant surveillance is an unethical experiment, and we have no idea what the long term psychological effects are or how it could hurt their ability to learn, thrive, and be themselves.
We envision a world where schools are a safe environment for our kids, but this isn’t possible if schools adopt facial recognition technology. That’s why we’re coming together to fight for our kids and to ban facial recognition from schools.
The world’s most dangerous surveillance technology is invading our schools and putting our children at risk. School systems across the country are quietly spending millions conducting unethical experiments with facial recognition software, using it to scan, analyze, and collect sensitive biometric information on tens of thousands of students, parents, teachers, and staff. And remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping the spread of this technology––since facial recognition can just as easily be used on Zoom calls, and can even be used to track whether they’re paying attention.
Parents and experts agree: Facial recognition technology isn’t safe. It’s biased, and more likely to misidentify students of color which means these students are more likely to face disciplinary action and feed into the school-to-prison pipeline. Already this year, a school called the police and suspended a Black kid for playing with a toy gun while in a class on Zoom. This is the type of overreaction and serious punishment that kids will face if they’re under constant, automated surveillance. Facial recognition is also invasive, enabling anyone with access to the system to watch our kids’ movements, analyze their facial expressions, monitor who they talk to, and even track how many times they go to the bathroom. And we don’t fully know the chilling effect of constant surveillance on developing minds.
Publicly they claim this is about security, but school administrators are already bragging about using this technology to target students for being late or minor rule breaking. Students from marginalized backgrounds—including students of color and undocumented students—are more likely to end up on watch lists or to get falsely arrested because of an error in the system. Some schools and facial recognition companies say facial recognition can be used to stop the spread of COVID-19, but tracking students’ every move will not stop people from getting sick.
We have to stop this. Violating our children’s basic rights won’t make them safer. Add your name to the letter calling on lawmakers and school administrators to stop experimenting on our children with dangerous surveillance technology.
To Lawmakers and School Administrators:
As parents and caregivers, there is nothing more important to us than our children's safety. That’s why we’re calling for an outright ban on the use of facial recognition in schools.
We’re concerned about this technology spreading to our schools, infringing on our kids’ rights and putting them in danger. We don’t even know the psychological impacts this constant surveillance can have on our children, but we do know that violating their basic rights will create an environment of mistrust and will make it hard for students to succeed and grow. The images collected by this technology will become a target for those wishing to harm our children, and could put them in physical danger or at risk of having their biometric information stolen or sold. The well-known bias built into this technology will put Black and brown children, girls, and gender noncomforming kids in specific danger.
Facial recognition creates more harm than good and should not be used on the children we have been entrusted to protect. It should instead be immediately banned.
Sincerely, [Your Name Here]