Education Leaders Report
Volume 4, No. 4
School Surveillance: The Consequences for Equity and Privacy
Despite introducing more than 400 bills on student data privacy since 2014, states have yet to address privacy protections for school surveillance or its inequitable effects. NASBE Legal Fellow J. William Tucker and Amelia Vance, NASBE’s director of education data and technology, identify the benefits and potential problems that school surveillance poses, and they suggest six principles to guide state policymakers toward effective, balanced policies.
The desire to keep students safe is among the top reasons why schools use surveillance technologies. But the authors warn that surveillance can be abused and lead to unintended consequences. “Security measures can interfere with the trust and cooperation learning requires by creating barriers among students, teachers, and officials and casting schools in a negative light in students’ eyes,” write Tucker and Vance. As a result, students may feel less nurtured, more uncomfortable in their learning environment, and more fearful of voicing their opinions in class.