ACLU to Ask Ann Arbor School Board to Halt Installation of Cameras at Pioneer

November 28, 2007

ANN ARBOR — In an effort to stop the installation of 53 surveillance cameras at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan along with concerned students and parents will address the Ann Arbor Board of Education at tonight’s board meeting.

The ACLU was recently approached by concerned students and parents after school plans to install cameras in hallways and parking lots became public. The school board is scheduled to accept bids tonight for the $78,000 surveillance system. The ACLU is asking that the school board not rush into accepting an offer to install surveillance cameras until civil liberties concerns and the effectiveness of surveillance cameras have been adequately addressed.

The ACLU will present evidence to the Board of Education that the effectiveness of surveillance cameras in deterring crime is dubious.  Studies suggest that surveillance cameras simply shift problematic behavior to areas where cameras aren’t present, such as school bathrooms and locker rooms.  In addition, surveillance cameras create a Big Brother atmosphere that is detrimental to learning and creates an environment of mistrust. Lastly, strangers may be able to obtain copies of the school videotapes of students and faculty through the Freedom of Information Act and use them for any purpose, including posting on websites.

In addition, the ACLU of Michigan has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the district’s superintendent and the Pioneer High School Executive Student Council passed a resolution decrying the installation. The student council is also circulating a petition among students asking for the camera installation to be stopped.  

WHAT: The ACLU of Michigan and concerned Pioneer High School parents and students will address the Ann Arbor School Board in an effort to stop the installation of 53 surveillance cameras at Pioneer High School.
WHERE: The 4th floor board room of the Ann Arbor District Library at 343 South Fifth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
WHEN: Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 7 pm 

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