ACLU of Georgia

Fulton County Schools approves installation of cameras despite ACLU of Georgia’s objections

by Jerzy Shedlock

Cameras that take pictures of license plates are being installed at Fulton County Schools following a vote of approval Thursday, despite objections from the ACLU of Georgia about how the technology is more likely to target Black Georgians. 

The school district’s leadership argued that the Flock Safety cameras will help keep their schools ahead of the curve on student safety. The cameras will cost the district roughly $626,300, and the district plans to immediately begin installation.

Prior to the vote, our policy counsel Ben Lynde told the district’s Board of Education that it owed the public more information and an opportunity for feedback, before deciding on the contract. It’s the stated goal of the company to place cameras in towns nationwide so collected data can be centralized with Flock Safety, and provide law enforcement upon request “a detailed report of the suspect vehicle over a given time frame.” Our state and federal right to privacy were put in place to prohibit such general surveillance. 

Lynde added that Black Georgians will be disproportionately targeted because of the cameras, which are designed to refer people “convicted of serious offenses” to authorities. “Serious offenses” was not further defined by school officials, however. 

“More than 25% of Black adults in Georgia have a felony conviction. We are concerned that people will be targeted by these cameras and referred to law enforcement simply because they have a criminal history and were dropping off their kids,” Lynde said.

Links to media coverage: 

Fulton County Schools approves license plate readers for enhanced security

Fulton County Schools to install license-plate cameras at all campuses

Meet the new neighborhood watch: License-plate reading cameras

Fulton schools to get license plate readers

Jerzy Shedlock (he/him) is a communications specialist at the ACLU of Georgia.