ACLU of Rhode Island calls on schools to reject body cams for SROs

This is a file image of a body camera. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Students’ right groups are calling on Rhode Island schools to reject body-worn cameras for school resource officers.

The ACLU of Rhode Island and eight other organizations in the state, which advocate for the interests of students, sent a letter to all school district superintendents in the state urging them not to equip SROs with body cameras.

The letter outlined implications for introducing the body cameras to the school environment, particularly that “the closed environment in which school-based law enforcement interactions are contained, and the likelihood of these interactions occurring around numerous other students, puts students at risk of being recorded whenever an SRO has contact with their peers.”

The organizations further expressed their concerns, saying that “envisioning [body camera] footage being used for the purposes of internal disciplinary procedures, with administrators viewing footage with the intention of using it to punish students for minor behaviors which could and should be navigated outside of the scope of both police involvement and police surveillance technology.”

In June, Gov. Dan McKee signed the state budget, which provides $15 million over five years for the Statewide Body Worn Camera Program.

Categories: News, Rhode Island