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Facial recognition technology coming to WNY school district

Posted at 2:48 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 23:18:59-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Lockport City School District is moving forward with plans to add facial recognition technology to schools as an added layer of security.

The district will begin implementing the Aegis facial recognition system June 3. The components of the system have already been installed.

The implementation phase is meant to refine the operation of the system, making camera adjustments in all school buildings.

The district hopes to have the system ready come September 1, 2019.

When asked how the district will ensure privacy is protected, it responded with this statement:

Lockport City School District Policy 5685 establishes a range of privacy protections related to the Aegis system. The information databases are secured and accessible by trained administrators with security privileges. All management of alerts is maintained by trained District employees. The database is periodically audited and updated to ensure its accuracy. The only personally identifiable information generated and maintained in the system is for those individuals set forth in the categories of level 2 or 3 sex offenders, students who have been suspended from school, staff who have been suspended and/or are on administrative leave, any persons that have been notified that they may not be present on District property, anyone prohibited from entry to District property by court order presented to the District, or anyone believed to pose a threat based on credible information presented to the District. Finally, the District is confident that the operation of the Aegis system complies with all applicable privacy laws.

Video is stored for 60 days before it is erased from the server.

Lockport schools also added the Raptor Management System to its buildings in January. The Raptor system checks in all visitors to school buildings.

On top of all that, the school has also assigned armed security guards in several buildings and increased the number of counselors, social workers and behavior intervention specialists.

One parent of a Lockport High School student opposes the new changes.

"No matter how well meaning they are, the volunteer members of a small town board of education are just not equipped to be making public policy choices about one of the most significant kinds of technology available," said Jim Shultz.