After the high number of recent school shootings, some school districts are considering implementing new technology. This technology would scan students’ social media posts, online school assignments and even emails for potential threats.
There is controversy over these new technological practices. Of course, school districts, parents, police officers and the community want school shootings to end. Thus, school districts are willing to implement any technology that may help reduce the threat.
The controversy begins with a lack of evidence that the technology produces results.
An example of the implemented measures
Florida is leading the way. The state has installed 18,000 cameras through public schools. In addition, there are GPS tracking devices on school buses and an app that allows the officers to view the GPS coordinates and live feed from any camera.
It is too soon to tell if these measures have prevented harm. Some experts believe that these measures will be unsuccessful in preventing mass shootings. They claim that students intending harm will simply refrain from posting threats on social media.
What does this mean for students?
These safety measures are clashing with student privacy rights. Could a teenager’s post be stored and used against them later?
The data is collected and held. It is not clear for how long the data is stored. This could mean that a post created by a 14-year-old may be stored and used against the individual 10 years later.
The data collected is only accessible by the authorities and the students’ school district administrators—for now. There is concern that social media monitoring may criminalize students’ social media posts. Some normal teenage issues could be misconstrued as threats.
This technology could threaten students’ privacy, infringe on their civil liberties and free speech.