Microchipping Kids? An Attempt to Track Students Backfires

Two Texas schools are making students wear necklaces that track their whereabouts. Is this a good idea?
A mandate to wear tracking devices has not received the best response from parents and students in Texas. (Photo: Image Source)
Nov 26, 2012
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

A school in Texas may have gone too far in an attempt to boost attendance.

The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio has mandated that students wear tracking devices so administrators know their whereabouts throughout the school day. The district could gain $2 million in state funding if they improve their attendance rates.

The pilot program is in full force, and the aftermath has not been pretty.

More: Big Brother Is Watching: Texas Students Protest School Tracking Chips, Invasion of Privacy

A lawsuit was recently filed against the principal of John Jay High School by sophomore Andrea Hernandez and her father. Hernandez was suspended because she refused to wear the badge. She objected to sporting the RIFD necklace on privacy and religious grounds.

The suspension didn't last long. KENS5.com reported that a judge ruled, "The principal's actions were a violation of the student's speech and religion. A restraining order was granted that bars Harris from removing Hernandez from the school and interfering with her anti-SmartID message."

One student went a different route in protesting the policy.

A teen hacked the district's website over the weekend to show his disdain for the tracking devices. The Associated Press reports:

A teenager purportedly working with the hacker group Anonymous said in an online statement that he took the site down because the Northside school district “is stripping away the privacy of students in your school.” ... District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said he has not yet been able to confirm that it was hacked.

While tracking students isn't common, it is a policy that has been implemented at other state-funded schools to increase attendance rates and education funding.

Do you think mandating that students wear tracking devices is the best way to improve attendance? Share your thoughts in comments.

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