The Lockport City School District School Board passed its policy to govern the use of the new security camera system using facial recognition software called Aegis.
The board had been poised to accept the policy at its Nov. 14 meeting but decided to wait until Wednesday's meeting to allow New York State Education Department officials to give feedback on the policy. Board President John Linderman said NYSED had not responded with any feedback, but noted that if they get feedback they certainly can implement or discuss it.
At the Nov. 7 meeting, Director of Technology Robert LiPuma said the policy, titled "Operation and Use of Security System/Privacy Protections," will govern two important additions to the district's security operation, the Raptor ID system and the Aegis facial recognition system. The Raptor ID system is more of a demographic matching system that checks someone if they are in the national sex offender database, whereas Aegis will look at faces to make sure they are not in the unwanted person list.
LiPuma said the systems will work together, adding that the district will be trying the systems out for a year and can fully define after a trial year what would be the appropriate routine audits.
The policy is broken down into six main areas: hardware and software, access to hardware systems, access to security system databases, security alerts and responses, maintenance of databases and privacy.
The policy says the system will be protected by a fob system that limits access and tracks entry and those with access will include the director of technology, the technology coordinator and the director of facilities and individuals.
A second level of security will limit access to the hardware rack. The access to security system databases says that the assistant superintendent for personnel, director of technology, director of facilities and staff members designated for that purpose by the superintendent will be the only ones who have access.
The security alerts and responses portion says that security alerts generated by Aegis will be verified by control room security officers before they are issued to identified staff, and then sent to certain staff members including the superintendent, assistant superintendent for personnel, director of technology, technology supervisor, director of facilities, district safety officer building administrators for alerts at building of responsibility and school monitors.
Those expected to be on the unwanted list may include: students who have been suspended, staff suspended or on administrative leave, level 2 or 3 sex offenders, any person that has been notified that they may not be on district property, anyone prohibited from entry to district property by court order or anyone believed to pose a threat.
Parents will be notified when their child's photo is placed in the system during periods of suspension and any other circumstances, and the photo will be removed once the suspension has ended or the circumstance has been considered resolved. Security databases will be audited from time to time to ensure all the images maintained fall within the categories set in the policy.
The policy's section for privacy says that the cameras only capture images and images collected are stored for no longer than 60 days, unless the information is part of an investigation or retained in conjunction with a log of security alerts.
If the information is retained longer than 60 days, it must be directed by a districtwide or building-level administrator and reported to the superintendent.
It also says that information may be used for disciplinary reasons and can be shared with law enforcement or other governmental authorities in response to an immediate threat.