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Nashville District To Test Face Recognition Security

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Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in December will become the first school district in the United States to use security cameras with face-recognition technology, according to a report in USA Today.

The 74,000-student district will install in three schools and an administration building cameras capable of detecting an unfamiliar face or someone barred from school grounds, according to Ralph Thompson, Nashville's assistant superintendent for student services.

Peter Pochowski, executive director of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officers, told USA Today that the test could induce other school districts around the country to use the technology.

Thompson said Nashville will use the $30,000 systems to take digital photos of students and workers at the three test schools and store them in the new camera system. When a camera spots a face in a school that it cannot match to a stored photo, it will alert security. The system also could detect suspended and expelled students and fired employees, Thompson said.

"This will give us an edge in providing safety for our students and teachers," Thompson told USA Today. Several intruders have entered Nashville schools in the last year, he said.

The technology has been criticized by civil liberties groups, who are concerned it could lead to uses of the technology beyond the school system. The newspaper also noted the technology has been rejected by police in Tampa and Virginia Beach.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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