There is nothing scarier than sending your child to school and having them not return home at the end of the day. This is what many parents had to experience through the Sandy Hook School Shooting, Parkland Shooting and many more tragic events that will forever leave an impact on many people. The amount of school shootings seems to be increasing as the years pass by, and the ones that occurred will never be forgotten. There must be a way to reduce the amount of shootings and crimes that occur in school settings.  

Facial recognition is the answer for the Lockport City School District in New York. According to The New York Times, Lockport City School District will take advantage of this technique at all eight of its schools. It is said to be one of the first districts in the United States to use this method to increase safety. 

The New York Times reports that Jim Shultz, a father in the Lockport School district, is one who strongly believes that facial recognition should not exist in schools. He argued his opinion through various sources such as in a New York Times Op-Ed, and in a petition for his daughter’s high school. One of Schutlz’s arguments is that facial recognition takes away from the student’s privacy. 

I disagree. Every time I see a school shooting in the news, I wonder to myself, “when is there going to be an end to this?” Anything can happen at a school at any time, and we must do anything we can to protect the children, faculty and staff who go to school everyday. It is a place for community. Children should feel comfortable attending school, and parents should feel comfortable sending their children to school. But after many school shootings, I am sure that it makes children and parents hesitant to want to attend school.

Facial recognition will be able to view faces and then administrators will be able to detect if they are considered “a person of interest,” meaning anyone who seems to be threatening or banned from the school or area, according to The New York Times article. 

One reason I disagree with Shultz is because I do not think that students need that much privacy in a school setting. If they believe they need extra privacy because they may be doing inappropriate things in a school setting, they probably should not be doing those things. The cameras should be used for safety purposes only. While I understand where many may feel uncomfortable with a camera watching them, safety to me is a priority.

One of the main reasons I support facial recognition in schools is because it has the ability to detect guns. If a gun is detected, an alert will be sent to law enforcement and administrators. This is where trouble can occur because technology is not always accurate, such as if a gun is supposedly detected but it is something other than a gun. There definitely should be mock situations practiced in schools for situations like these that might happen when using facial recognition technology.

Although I strongly believe that this system could help with school safety, administrators must make sure they do not accuse anyone just because they may have similar facial features to “persons of interests,” which was a point stressed by Jayde McDonald, a prior student in Lockport Schools, in The New York Times. 

Although this technology can be expensive for its original purchase, it takes away from paying security or law enforcement to stand at doors during the school day. The price may be high, but they are attempting to make schools safer which is what is most important.  

I appreciate anything that is being done to further safety in schools. Saying that a school shooting or crime cannot happen in your own school is not realistic. Nothing would be worse than the feeling of regret for not having facial recognition when it was needed after a tragic situation in school.

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