RFID chips for Texas students

posted at 6:31 pm on October 7, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Is this a story of the nanny state gone (further) awry, a community ensuring the safety of at risk children, or just a group of bureaucrats trying to glam onto some extra cash? The San Antonio Times brings us the story of a school district which will begin “tracking” students in middle and high school using RFID chips. What could possibly go wrong?

Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students…

Northside, the largest school district in Bexar County, plans to modify the ID cards next year for all students attending John Jay High School, Anson Jones Middle School and all special education students who ride district buses. That will add up to about 6,290 students.

Sounds positively Orwellian, doesn’t it? In fact, that’s precisely one of the words which Lee DeCovnick uses at The American Thinker to describe this new intrusion into American privacy.

Farmers currently use chips to track cattle and hogs. RFID is also commonly used for tracking store retail inventories and monitoring vehicle access to gated properties. Now that we have the technology, we’re “chipping” our children for money and their supposed safety? Orwell and Huxley must be outraged that their warnings have gone so unheeded.

DeCovnick is additionally concerned because these aren’t the old school, passive RFID tags which have to be pulsed by a transmitter to give up their data. These newer models have batteries installed and actually transmit data which could, in theory, be picked up by strangers, predators, etc. It’s a valid point. But if they are closely monitoring who has access to the data and they’re going to be tracking the kids only to make sure that evil persons don’t carry them away, then…

Oh, wait.

District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.

Okay… so they’re installing the system to qualify for a system whereby – if they can show how many students are showing up for school and how many are riding the bus – the district will take in a big additional chunk of state funds. (Far more than the cost of implementing and running the not inexpensive tracking system.) But as long as they’re improving safety by monitoring the movements of the children and could follow the perps if they are abducted too, then at least some good will still…

Oh wait. Again.

Chip readers on campuses and on school buses can detect a student’s location but can’t track them once they leave school property. Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information, Gonzalez said.

“This way we can see if a student is at the nurse’s office or elsewhere on campus, when they normally are counted for attendance in first period,” he said.

On the one hand, I’m not sure how much of a privacy issue I want to make of this if and only if the parents approve and find some value in it. Their decisions about the safety of their children override the concerns of the students in a case like this. But I’m also not sure how much extra safety they are getting out of the deal in exchange for the potential anxiety being induced. And more than anything, it looks like the schools are simply looking for a way to qualify for bigger cuts of the tax dollar pie by proving how many bodies they can shove into the classrooms each week.

So what do you think? Privacy issue? Funding scheme? Too much? Not enough?


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Let’s stop circumlocating around the shrubbery. Why bother with some half-assed tracking device implanted into a card when you can plant a microchip DIRECTLY INTO EACH STUDENT. Not only would the chip furnish the government with each students exact location but, because you would also include a psychometric evaluator to determine a students emotional attitudes-especially toward a “warm, lovable” progressive government. In this method, a “warm,;lovable” and dare I say “cuddly”? government evaluator can determine the probability of a student manifesting “hostility” toward the government. Those with high hostility probability indexes can be remedially and humanely reoriented from their deviancy by the release of trace amounts of liquid mercury (also implanted)leading to a quick and merciful cessation of activity.

MaiDee on October 7, 2012 at 11:25 PM

So if a kid, or group of kids, want to take the day off and have a party somewhere, all they have to do is give their student IDs to a friend or leavc them at school in order to be counted as in attendance?

Geez, I graduated from high school in the 1960s and I can think of a myriad of ways to spoof the system with RFIDs. What makes them think the kids won’t.

The reason RFIDs work so well on cattle and sheep is because they’re…uh…cattle and sheep.

schmuck281 on October 7, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Another reason to hate modernity.

Cleombrotus on October 7, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Digital Angel, don’t be scared

it’s not the “mark of the Beast”. . : )

listens2glenn on October 7, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Those with high hostility probability indexes can be remedially and humanely reoriented from their deviancy by the release of trace amounts of liquid mercury (also implanted)leading to a quick and merciful cessation of activity.

MaiDee on October 7, 2012 at 11:25 PM

.
I’m already hostile towards government. Does that mean I should turn myself in, you know . . . . . for the good of the “collective”?

listens2glenn on October 7, 2012 at 11:54 PM

On the one hand, this is Bexar County/ San Antonio, so doesn’t accurately portray the thinking or ‘state of the state’, if you will – much like Austin doesn’t.

Unfortunately, Bexar County/San Antonio *does* perhaps give us an early look at where the state might be headed as demographics continue to change, etc.

This interesting in that it points out the two distinct brands of liberalism prevalent in each locale.

Texas74 on October 8, 2012 at 1:10 AM

I think anyone who’s had kids in a public school recently who missed some days because they were sick knows exactly what this is about: butts in seats. Doesn’t matter if they were out for a good reason. Doesn’t matter if they are up to speed in all classes. Funding is directly tied to whether the kids are AT the school.

So yes, it’s really all about the money. No conspiracy theory is needed. If children are missing from school, funding gets reduced. Every time your child doesn’t show up for class, you cost the school district money.

It’s all about the funding.

tom on October 8, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Why the shock and the Luddite tendencies all of a sudden? What parts of New World Order, Socialism, Fascism and Corporatism do some not get?

We’ve already been conditioned to believe we simply have to have a Social Security number for anything of substance we want to do (a lot of it so the IRS can extort us more easily), and that we have to have a photo ID on us at all times…or else we’re obviously hiding something.

We ain’t seen nothing yet. Y’all know that they want to move away from cash altogether and have all financial transactions done electronically. Then there’s the pay-as-you-go transponders that will make every road a toll road.

Of course, companies will be in charge of all this-including collecting fines for speeding, but as long as private companies do these things and not the government, all is well…right?

And what will the police be doing with all that free time on their hands if they don’t have to do traffic stops any longer? Hard to say, but I’m sure we can come up with something.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 8, 2012 at 2:18 AM

I’m already hostile towards government. Does that mean I should turn myself in, you know . . . . . for the good of the “collective”?

listens2glenn on October 7, 2012 at 11:54 PM

No hurry. I’m sure they’ll come for you when they ‘need’ you.

trigon on October 8, 2012 at 2:33 AM

And what will the police be doing with all that free time on their hands if they don’t have to do traffic stops any longer? Hard to say, but I’m sure we can come up with something.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 8, 2012 at 2:18 AM

Three words:

Donuts. Donuts. Donuts.

(or in the case of some of the oh-so-friendly deputies of a neighboring county around these parts: rape, rape, rape, then donuts, then a slap on the wrist from the oh-so-friendly judge.)

hillbillyjim on October 8, 2012 at 3:12 AM

Two words:

Lead foil.

Stops alll rfid, gps, and any other transceiving devices. And if you’re really paranoid, you can fashion it into a hat.

M240H on October 8, 2012 at 3:22 AM

High tech ID cards? Just please don’t get these for voters. How will the dead folks vote if you do?

Don L on October 8, 2012 at 5:00 AM

Two words.

Camels nose.

DMartin on October 8, 2012 at 6:47 AM

So, it comes down to a system that will let schools track students withing its walls, reduce the time needed to take attendance and allow better allocation funds. A lot like a hall monitor.

Sounds positively insidious!

MY problem with the system is that by making it impersonal, it becomes impersonal. There might be less connection with teachers and that is value lost(at least with a good teacher so for most public schools that might not apply).

It becomes easier to spoof. Give your friend you ID and you show up as in school. Pass it around during the day to look like you go to classes.

OBQuiet on October 8, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Step #1. More likely it is a way of getting people used to the idea of being tracked via RFID.

Do not like, do not want.

rbj on October 7, 2012 at 6:35 PM

THIS

let’s desensitize them by pretending it’s about the safety of their children.

redlucy on October 8, 2012 at 8:24 AM

This is just more proof that we are nothing but livestock for the liberal elites. And that as in “Animal Farm” some animals are more equal than others.

Freed0m28 on October 8, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Texas? Really?

lorien1973 on October 7, 2012 at 6:34 PM

San Antonio.

Tbh there are parts of Dallas, Houston, and SA that really are quite leftist. And then there’s Austin.

Still, this is a terrible idea.

CorporatePiggy on October 8, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Digital Angel, don’t be scared

it’s not the “mark of the Beast”. . : )

listens2glenn on October 7, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Yet.

Axion on October 8, 2012 at 9:21 AM

No ID to vote but one to find you in the nurses office to get your day after pill. Yep, sounds like a BNW to me.

Kissmygrits on October 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Privacy issue? Seriously? When you’re a child in a school, you HAVE NO PRIVACY. School administrators can search a child’s bags and locker at any given moment and certainly a school acting in loco parentis has the right to keep track of a student’s whereabouts. As for worrying about predators? Uhhh, it’s a school. It’s not like the addresses of schools are some confidential secret and it’s not like it’s difficult for predators to track down children walking home by themselves anyways (not that that really happens in Texas). Parents worried about privacy outside of school can instruct their children to keep their ID’s in their backpacks; since no sane child keeps their backpack with them when they go out socially the “beacon” will not be transmitting their location to predators outside school time but since children always make sure to bring their bags with them to school, they will always be following the school rules.

People who think Orwellian warnings apply to children have no frickin’ clue what parenting actually means.

solatic on October 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

solatic on October 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Wow. What a stupid comment Maybe you should just sit somewhere and look pretty.

Then again, maybe you can’t.

john1schn on October 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Comment pages: 1 2