With the beginning of this school year, security is a priority at most of Michigan’s districts. In light of recent school shooting incidents all over the country, many communities have initiated extensive safety renews.

A portion of districts is considering to implement video programs that resemble the questionable facial identification technology.

Amy Conway, Superintendent at the suburb School District, confirmed that Gibraltar is among those.

Significant Changes in a Small District

With about 4,500 inhabitants and six school objects, Gibraltar is considered a small district.

In 2017, voters in the district approved a multimillion-dollar bond, which included the amount for the improvement of security systems in schools.

Lately, schools’ entryways were updated, so that nobody can access any school area without passing through the main office to be checked. Its upgraded video system was set up in 2018.

No Facial Recognition Will Be Used

Now, due to the installation of hundreds of cameras, security staff can monitor, track, or find people on entire school grounds. Conway said that this sophisticated software allows to lock in on distinctive features of a person, such as the colors of a rucksack, shirt, or pants.

She explained that, if they wanted to zero in on the person in the premises, whether it was a student or someone in, for example, blue jeans and a pink shirt, they would have to input the data in the computer. Following that input, the program would trace and highlight anybody in similar clothes.

Conway pointed out that the installed system didn’t have identical abilities as the program that’d been creating disputes in many cities throughout the country. Opposite from the police software for facial identification, this one cannot scan a person’s facial features and run it through live video to find and locate them.

Active Shooter Prevention

Nevertheless, they are optimistic and hopeful that the system will prove to be valuable if a security situation occurs.

Conway said that it would be advantageous to know the exact position of the active shooter. Also, that would help law enforcement officers to block and apprehend the attacker.

Furthermore, Conway declared that there had been no large-scale incidents since they started to use this program. But the systems were proven to be useful in finding lost possessions or in investigations of stealing and vandalism.

Avigilon Corporation makes the whole system that is in use. It is represented as a refined deep learning AI video exploring engine.

Privacy Issues

Usually, extensive safety measures raise debates about possible intrusions of privacy. There were no objections or concerns from any employee, student, or parent, stated Conway.

She finalized that they had support from the whole community and that everyone had the same goal — to keep children and staff safe.

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