Teachers and schools serve as first responders when it comes to identifying and initiating action in the case of suspected abuse of children in any form. With schools closed and fewer eyes from the outside directly on children, alarms across the country are being sounded to bring awareness to the decrease in the ability to report cases of possible abuse.
The Imprint reported that the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) has been encouraging the public, “through a veritable media blitz” to call in and report anything that could be child abuse. This move was criticized by some as creating “false hysteria,” citing sociologist Robert Putnam’s 1995 article and subsequent book, Bowling Alone, in which he refers to the strength of a community’s network and level of civic engagement as the social capital necessary to form a hedge of support around children and families.
So it turns out that the move to solve a problem actually was perceived to create a larger one in that the village that was designed to uplift and serve as a system of checks and balances was now being asked to serve as reporting authorities. The data shows that Black, brown and indigenous community members received disproportionate numbers of unsubstantiated reports submitted against them, further breaking the trust so vital in the community bond.
The AI facial recognition industry is expected to balloon to 10.9 billion dollars by 2025 in the US. Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a camera that can detect subtle changes in expression identifying them as nervousness, confusion, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, or fear with an 81% accuracy rate. Schools could consider deploying facial recognition camera devices to staff only, who could then get a daily reading on the emotional state of their students. With the addition of facial recognition software during virtual lessons, schools would be able to better assess with the help of AI, adverse situations that may causing their students stress and follow up accordingly.