Two schools in San Antonio have voted to start tracking students with chips embedded in their student ID cards! One of their main reasons? Money! More surprising, they're not the first schools to do this. The Northside Independent School District claims it keeps the students safer because they will know where they are during school hours. They also say that it will help them count the students in the morning so they don't get any extra cuts in state funding that is based on attendance. What happened to kids raising their hand and saying 'here'?
Approximately 6,290 students will be affected when they implement the plan next year. They will be using the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID). The district claims it can only track the students on school buses and on school property and that only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information. In 2005, the ACLU fought and stopped a similar program in California. An ACLU spokeswoman in Texas, Kirsten Bokenkamp, said they had concerns about privacy and the risks of identity theft or kidnapping if somebody hacks into the system.
One school board trustee, M'Lissa M. Chumbley, said, "I think this is overstepping our bounds and is inappropriate. I'm honestly uncomfortable about this." Some parents are also unhappy with the plan that will cost each student $15. The incoming superintendent isn't concerned, he sees dollar signs. Two school districts in the Houston area also use the chips tracking students and have received hundreds of thousands of dollars because of increased attendance, so superintendent Steve Bassett may be looking at $1.7 million next year alone. Of course, this is all about the kids safety, right?
According to MySanAntonio, Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, said Northside has to walk a tightrope in selling the idea to parents, some of whom could be turned off by the revenue incentive. Someone needs to be a tough sell. These little invasions of privacy, convenient as they may be, have a tendency to grow into bigger invasions. Just like the TSA. If they ease the public into it, no one complains. Big Brother is listening.
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012