Does facial recognition technology make schools safer?

In an effort to improve security and make staff members feel safer, more schools, like the St. Therese Catholic Academy in Seattle, are turning to high-tech security solutions including facial recognition software, EdSurge reports. The education sector spent about $2.7 billion on security equipment and services in 2017, according to IHS Markit, a market research firm.Software firm RealNetworks offered last year to provide its facial recognition technology to K-12 schools in the United States and Canada for free, though most schools will have to spend thousands to upgrade technology to support it. So far, about a dozen schools and districts — including St. Therese — have embraced the software.At St. Therese, the technology has only put staff members' faces — not students' — in the system, and while it monitors who comes in or out of the building, it's mainly effective in specific cases, such as identifying “known threats," EdSurge reports. However, critics warn that the system is only as valuable as the measures used to update and support it, and that staff members can rely too much on the tech and become less vigilant in the long run.

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