Radio frequency identification—the same technology used to monitor cattle—is tracking students in the Spring and Santa Fe school districts.
Identification badges for some students in both school districts now include tracking devices that allow campus administrators to keep tabs on students’ whereabouts on campus. School leaders say the devices improve security and increase attendance rates.
Cue the parental backlash.
“There’s real questions about the security risks involved with these gadgets,” said Dotty Griffith, public education director for the ACLU of Texas. “Readers can skim information. To the best of my knowledge, these things are not foolproof. We constantly see cases where people are skimming, hacking, and stealing identities from sophisticated systems.”
A similar technology was used in California in 2005, until the ACLU successfully fought for the program’s termination. Technically, children (or parents) who don’t want to use the technology don’t have to. They just might have to face a few days of in-school suspension instead.
“They can’t deny a kid an education for refusing to use it,” Texas Education Agency spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said. “They can take disciplinary action, but they can’t deny an education.”
11-year-old Jacorey Jackson summed it up best: “It feels like someone’s watching you at all times.”