Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a public records request with the Pasco County (FL) school district seeking records, pursuant to Florida Public Records Law, about the district’s involvement and participation in a data-sharing agreement and predictive policing program with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.
Relying, in part, on students’ confidential educational records shared by the school district without notice to students, parents, or guardians, the Sheriff’s Office uses an algorithm to “predict” which youth might potentially engage in criminal activity. These students are then placed on an “at-risk” youth list for law enforcement purposes, which is particularly troubling in Pasco County – a school district that already has racial disparities in school discipline.
“Pasco County is weaponizing data and technology against its own youth within an educational system that is supposed to protect and nurture them, not criminalize them,” said LDF Litigation Fellow John Cusick. “The School District’s participation in a predictive policing program threatens to exacerbate long-standing racial disparities in discipline, which have fueled the school-to-prison pipeline. This situation is untenable, and transparency is a critical step forward.”
“There is no place for predictive policing technology in school settings,” said Clarence Okoh, LDF’s Equal Justice Works Fellow. “Throughout the country, new policing technologies have heightened systemic discrimination against young people of color. Operating a school-based predictive policing program threatens educational equity and undermines the federal privacy rights of students of color, as well as immigrant students, students with disabilities, and other vulnerable children, who are too often unduly targeted by police.”
Read the records request here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.