Monday, November 26, 2012
ID Cards With RFID Chip For Students ?
The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio has decided that all students must carry a "smart" ID card -- a card that includes an RFID chip (like the one pictured above) which will allow the school to track all movements of all students. The school says this helps them keep track of who is attending school daily, thus making sure the get the proper amount of state funding (which is predicated on daily attendance).
Personally, I think that is a bogus reason. Schools have always taken attendance at the beginning of each class. This method takes very little time and produces a very accurate picture of daily attendance. No fancy (and expensive) electronic system is needed to keep track of attendance. I suspect the school has some more nefarious purpose in mind -- such as violating what little privacy is left for students.
One young lady refused to wear the new ID (saying it violated her religious rights), and the school has refused to let her attend classes until she agrees to wear it. This has resulted in a court case. The Rutherford Institute has filed suit on the young woman's behalf claiming the ID cards are a violation of the First Amendment rights of religious freedom and free speech. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order, which allows the young woman to attend class -- at least until the case can be heard.
John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, said, "The court's willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go -- not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled. These "student locator" programs are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government."
I don't know about the religious freedom argument, but I definitely think this is an invasion of what little privacy is left in this electronic society. We have already gone too far down this road (remember the Patriot Act?) and we need to stop this kind of nonsense before no one has any privacy left at all.
And there is one more reason why this makes no sense, especially here in Texas. In the last legislative session, the state cut school funds by about $5 billion (even though Texas already had one of the lowest per pupil funding rates in the nation), causing the layoff of thousands of teachers. It simply makes no sense that the school district spend precious school money on this ridiculous electronic tracking system that is not needed, when that money could have been spent on teachers or classroom supplies -- both of which are badly needed.