Is face-recognition the next step in school surveillance?
The Nashville school system has made plans to equip three schools and an administration building with high-tech security cameras featuring facial-recognition capabilities. The 75,000-student district is the first in the nation to use face-recognition technology. The cameras operate using sophisticated video analytics which allow them to spot unfamiliar faces as well as the faces of specific intruders who have been barred from school grounds.
To test the system, digital photos of each student and employee at the three Nashville schools will be taken and stored in the camera system. IF a security camera spots a face that doesn't match one of the photos in the system, it will automatically alert security. The system can also be set up so that the cameras can detect fired employees, and student who are expelled or suspended.
Some skeptics have voiced concerns about the privacy issues of having face-recognition cameras in schools. But in general, because of threats like shootings and other violent activity on school grounds, many schools are open to the idea of more high-tech security systems as long as they can help to better protect students and staff from danger.
Should the tests in Nashville prove successful, it's possible that other school districts might follow suit.