West Virginia schools to deploy Rank One facial recognition for security system pilot
Schools in Marion County, West Virginia will pilot live facial recognition from Rank One Computing for visitor management and threat detection, local outlet WDTV reports, following approval by school board officials.
Rank One CEO Scott Swan, a West Virginia native with extensive local ties, recently delivered a presentation on the facial recognition technology to the Marion County Board of Education.
Those local ties include offices opened at West Virginia University just a month ago.
Superintendent Dr. Donna Hage suggests that the biometric system could be less intrusive and more time-efficient than metal detectors. In addition to adding a layer of security, the system is expected to help automate some visitor management processes.
The facial recognition software would be deployed to security camera systems already installed in the schools.
The watchlist could be populated by the school, which could also team up with local law enforcement to add restricted individuals.
Swan says he is hoping for “an organic approach of working out the right kinds of requirements through partnership within West Virginia, and then we’ll think about our national strategy.”
Facial recognition has a brief yet fraught history in U.S. schools, with a temporary ban on contracts put in place in New York State, and multiple school districts preparing for its end date seeking and receiving approval ahead of the deadline to go ahead with new deployments.
Rank One has called for an industry code of ethics capable of addressing the complex legal and privacy issues around facial recognition.