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Tracking chips in student ID cards prove useless

Alexandra Snow, Opinion Writer
December 12, 2012
Filed under Opinion

At the start of last school year, John Jay High School and Jones Middle School, schools right outside of San Antonio, Texas, implemented a new Student Locator Project. This project uses the power of radio frequency identification technology in students’ school identification cards. This pilot program will issue cards to 4,200 students with three goals in mind.

According to the school district’s website, the three goals are to increase students’ safety and security, increase attendance and provide multipurpose “smart” student ID cards, which would be used for locating students, library checkouts and buying school lunches.

According to an NBC report, RFID has the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on a credit card. Unlike those things, which need to be seen to be read, the RFID can send a signal to a receiver unhindered by doors, walls, backpacks, purses or clothing.

According to the Huffington Post, this is not the first program of its kind. In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns about a similar initiative at a California school.

That same year, a suburban Houston school district began putting the chips in its student IDs, and served as the blueprint for the school district’s pilot program.

For Andrea Hernandez, a 15-year-old student at John Jay High School, being forced to carry the IDs with locator chips in them is the mark of the beast. She isn’t fond of the fact that it can locate her even when she is going to the bathroom, according to the Dallas Morning News.

We don’t need to start tagging our kids like we tag our cattle. Yes, they are high-schoolers and need to be kept under control, but they aren’t the trouble makers we make them out to be.

One of the goals mentioned was attendance. Would teachers then stop taking attendance? Part of the reason teachers keep track of their students is because the school gets funding in relation to their attendance.

In that case, would the government go with attendance taken by teachers, which might not take into consideration kids in the halls or in public areas of the school when attendance is being taken, or would it accept the electronic attendance?

According to American Free Press, the chips would mark the students present when they are in the building. The kid that corresponds with that chip may or may not actually be there. Being marked present would be just as easy as giving the card to a friend or keeping it in a locker overnight.

Back in my high school days, if a student didn’t want to be in school that day they would find a way not to go. Common tactics included having their parents — or friends that sound like parents — call them in, telling the office they had an orthodontist appointment or just not going to class.

Overall it doesn’t matter if you put a locating chip in IDs or not, kids are sneaky and are going to find ways around it. Sorry, Big Brother. Good attempt, but not quite there yet.