The PJ Tatler

Texas School District to Require Students to Wear RFID Chip

Via Lee DeCovnick at American Thinker blog, whatever possessed school bureaucrats to come up with this lousy idea?

San Antonio Times:

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.

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.

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.

The school board unanimously approved the program late Tuesday but, in a rarity for Northside trustees, they hotly debated it first, with some questioning it on privacy grounds.

I favor the slippery slope argument here. The more this technology is used, the more it is accepted, the easier it will be for it to spread. Will our children be safer if the chip is employed to track their movements on campus? Marginally, yes. The question parents must ask is if it is worth the cost to privacy rights. Besides, if the chip is attached to the school ID, a student can still get themselves in trouble by leaving the ID behind when they play hooky.

There is another argument against the use of chips; the law of unintended consequences. We cannot fully foresee how this technology will be employed or what the consequences to our privacy will be. That should be reason enough to slow down and and wait for our understanding to catch up.

It is a dangerous world. But that doesn’t mean we have to toss out the Constitution in our quest for safety. A healthy balance is still the best option and chips may or may not be part of the solution some day.