Lockport Resident and Opinion Columnist Works with Civil Liberties Organizations to Sue State Ed. Department Over Security Cameras

Jim Shultz wrote in a long post online earlier today about the NYCLU and ACLU decision bringing legal action against Lockport’s educators and policy makers.

To be clear, Shultz is suing the New York State Department of Education. This is in an effort to activate them into forcing a shutdown of the video security system in Lockport. If the board of education for Lockport wishes to keep the 2.7 million dollars of equipment they have already purchased and installed, a lengthy battle may be ahead.

If the board decides they will give up their tech, and try to get their money returned from the selling company, a lengthy legal battle will most certainly be ahead.

The NYCLU stated the following on their website: “The lawsuit aims to have the NYSED approval of the system vacated and revoked, and have the NYSED direct Lockport to deactivate its facial recognition system.”

In short, here are Jim’s reasons for calling on civil liberties unions to activate the State’s Department of Education to address concerns over the security system.

According to Shultz:

  • The salesman was a fraud who didn’t really understand the technology that he sold.
  • The school system failed to do its “basic homework” and see the salesman’s “obvious conflict of interest.” 
  • Security cameras can’t actually identify shooters in a helpful amount of time.
  • It goes against the privacy of students.
  • It can give a false identification, particularly if you are a person of color.
  • It is similar to the systems utilized by “China and Russia”.
  • Cites letter from NYCLU that Lockport School District has intent to abuse student’s privacy.

Near the end of his explanation for acting against Lockport’s School District’s security cameras, Jim wanted noted that this lawsuit is not directed at the Lockport School District:

“Also, to be clear, the case filed this week by NYCLU is not a demand for money and it is not against the Lockport school district. What the case does is call on New York state education officials to apply the same parental rights and student privacy protections to these high-tech recordings that we use to safeguard other student information — their grades, their teacher comments, or videos of them giving presentations. This includes giving parents control over who the district can share these recordings with and how they can be used. Personally, I think it is time for the district to stop paying lawyers to defend the system and pay them instead to get our money back from the sketchy company that led them into this mess.”

It is important to note that no one had discussed using the new security system to showcase student work, their report cards, or comments from teachers, however that would be possible.   

Lastly, Shultz proclaimed fellow plaintiffs are acting with him on this case – none have yet to be identified apart from one, Renee Cheatham. Cheatham is a board member for the school district who was recently voted into service. Shultz was a fierce advocate during her campaign.

FIND THE LINK TO THIS CASE HERE:

https://www.nyclu.org/en/cases/shultz-et-al-v-new-york-state-education-department


This article was updated and altered to fix an inaccuracy on 6/24 at approximately 5 p.m.

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