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Education Department bars Lockport schools from testing facial recognition

The State Education Department said late Thursday that it is not allowing the Lockport City School District to use or test its facial recognition security system.

"To be clear, the Department has directed the Lockport School District to cease the testing and utilization of facial recognition technology until further notice," spokesman J.P. O'Hare said via email.

"Department staff has consistently communicated to the District that they should refrain from the use of the facial recognition technology until the Department is satisfied that proper protocols and protections are in place and has not deviated from that position. Any testing or implementation that may be occurring is being done contrary to clear direction from the Department."

Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said earlier Thursday that despite Education Department concerns about student privacy that delayed testing planned in late May, the district was planning summer work toward making the $1.4 million system operational: adjusting cameras, training staff on response to alarms and conferring with law enforcement agencies on the system's use.

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