Alabama school district pays ex-FBI agent to monitor students’ social media
NO STUDENT IS SAFE: Huntsville schools paid an ex-FBI agent $157,000 to oversee security reforms such as monitoring students’ social media accounts.
By Brad Matthews | WatchdogWire.com
School officials in Huntsville, Ala., paid an ex-FBI agent $157,000 to oversee a number of security reforms, which included monitoring and spying on the social media accounts of the district’s students.
According to records, only 14 students have been expelled so far due to these efforts — but of those students, 12 were black, according to media reports.
“That is effectively targeting or profiling black children in terms of behavior and behavioral issues,”AL.com quoted Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison as saying.
The local school board’s sole black board member, Laurie McCaulley, blamed the expulsions on disciplinary issues and told AL.com, “What I think the board is doing is trying to provide a safe environment for all children.”
The Students Against Fear, or SAFe, Program, was operated by former FBI agent Chris McRae and was uncovered by AL.com. Documents received by the news website in September showed security personnel, working through the program, investigated 600 of 24,000 students in the city since January. The investigations focused on signs of gang affiliation, gun, and other indicators of violent or criminal activity.
The school district also has a contract with T&W Operations, the firm that employs McRae and others involved in other parts of Huntsville’s security operations. This firm has not just been involved with schools, however.