The Huntsville City Schools and Alabama apparently have paid as much as $157,000 to a former FBI agent to direct school security. However, it turns out that the program that he implemented was monitoring the social media activity of black students.
Former FBI agent Chris McCrae was in charge of the “Students Against Fear program” aka SAFe, that allows students and teachers to provide anonymous tips so social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, can be reviewed to determine the credibility of any supposed to threat. The amount of students whose social media activity were being monitored by the school system numbered at least 600. Of the 600 students monitored for various reasons related to their social media activity 8 percent were black. The school system itself is 40 percent black with 78 percent of all students expelled in the school system being black. Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison said that this is “effectively targeting or profiling black children in terms of behavior and behavioral issues.”
Recently Huntsville City School Superintendent, Casey Wardynski, defended the SAFe program stating to local media “Our SAFe program is really about bringing information together. Often we’ll find on Facebook things going on right now, kids are posting from inside school or on Twitter. Here is a kid with a pistol on Facebook. These are his buddies, each with a gun. We’re instantly interested in that … We’re interested in this guy, what’s he up to? Is he in school today? Let’s look at his social media . People look like they’re doing nefarious things, they can be a threat.”
Many critics were very vocal about the amount of money paid to the former FBI agent. According to school district records, he was paid as much as $157,000 to monitor the social media activity of students.