Huntsville City Schools paid ex-FBI agent to monitor students' social media activity

School leaders said no monitoring is done on students without tips coming from the community first. (Source: MGN/Wiki Commons composite)
School leaders said no monitoring is done on students without tips coming from the community first. (Source: MGN/Wiki Commons composite)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Records show Huntsville City Schools is paying a former FBI agent to oversee security measures.

That includes the controversial program to monitor some students' social media accounts.

The district is contracting with T&W, a firm that employees Chris McRae, who was paid a little over $157,000 last fiscal year to run the Safe Program.

That breaks down to $110 an hour.

Superintendent Casey Wardynski said security personnel investigated social media accounts of 600 out of 24,000 Huntsville students since January.

Online monitoring resulted in 14 students getting expelled in the previous school year, according to records.

Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison said he's concerned that 12 of those expelled students were black. School board member Laurie McCaulley said students were expelled only for serious offenses, like those involving weapons or drugs.

School leaders said no monitoring is done on students without tips coming from the community first.

Along with the online monitoring, the contractor performs security training and designs and implements security measures for both new and old buildings.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this report.