In an attempt to get more money from the state, a middle school and high school in Texas are implementing a program in which student IDs will be outfitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips in order to track their movements around school.
If you’re unfamiliar with this technology, a great primer on the subject has been written by Brent Daggett for End the Lie and I highly recommend you take a few minutes to explore some of the other applications of RFID, many of which are nothing short of disturbing.
As is so often done when it comes to surveillance technology, this is being sold to us as something for our own good and the good of our children. This is identical to how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is pushing their ludicrously unconstitutional license plate surveillance program I detail in the below video:
The Northside Independent School District (NISD) of San Antonio, Texas has already approved the tracking devices and according to local news outlet KVUE, an ABC affiliate, two schools in the district will have the program in place next year.
They characterize the RFID-equipped student IDs as somewhat “like a GPS for teachers and administrators” which will help them pinpoint the location of students around campus.
“Every parent wants us to know where their child is at school,” claimed NISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez.
I find this claim nothing short of laughable. Never before has this even been an issue, let alone one which “every parent” would be concerned about.
Growing up my parents knew I was at school; they couldn’t care less if I was in the bathroom, the library, a classroom or any other location.
To me, Gonzalez’s claim is so absurd that it is almost hard to believe that anyone would even attempt to use such a nonsensical argument.
What parent cares what particular room their child is in? One legitimate concern might be if your child is ditching school, but an RFID isn’t required for that, there’s this crazy newfangled thing called “attendance” or “roll” which determines if students are present in class.
If I had a child in a public school, I would be much more concerned about him or her being targeted by police, attacked and/or criminalized. The last of my concerns would be if my child was in the restroom at 11:18 AM or where in the cafeteria they were during lunch time.
Any parent who desperately wants to know precisely where their child is at school during every minute of every day would, in my humble opinion, likely benefit from some professional counseling.
Of course, this has nothing to do with parents or anything of the sort. “It’s going to give us the opportunity to track our students in the building,” said Wendy Reyes, the principal at Jones Middle School, where 1,200 students are going to be tagged and monitored.
NISD is going to begin the program by rolling it out to Jones Middle School and Jay High School, and if it is successful we could likely see it expanded significantly since it costs around $10 to $15 per ID.
“They may have been in the nurse’s office, or the counselor’s office, or vice principal’s office, but they were marked absent from the classroom because they weren’t sitting in the class,” Reyes said.
“It will help us have a more accurate account of our attendance,” she added.
This is where it becomes clear what the real purpose is: money.
According to KVUE, NISD loses $175,000 every day in state funding due to children who either are absent or tardy to class.
Apparently, being able to monitor students who weren’t able to make it to first period could pay off greatly, potentially over $250,000 in state funding, according to district officials.
Furthermore, they claim that they could obtain $1.2 million from Medicaid since they will also be monitoring the movements of the special-needs students.
Another interesting aspect of their argument is the supposed convenient nature of the RFID-equipped cards.
“Not just locating a student, but also checking out books from the library, getting food out of the cafeteria, access to a computer lab, etcetera,” Gonzalez stated.
This is yet another common attempt to get people to accept invasions of privacy, as well as the classic incentivizing in which benefits are offered for those who agree to use the technology while those who refuse are barred from said benefits.
While the district officials claim the chips implanted in student IDs will pay for themselves, the program will involve a startup cost of over $500,000. It is unclear if that figure is for the entire district or just the pilot programs.
Hilariously, KVUE even refers to the program as Big Brother in no uncertain terms whatsoever.
“But ‘Big Brother’ has his limitations, because the tag can only track students within the walls of the buildings on campus, or on special-needs buses,” writes Joe Conger.
One would assume that they would be trying to distance this technology from the idea of Big Brother as much as possible but oddly enough, that is far from the case.
It will be interesting to see if this is effective and if it will be implemented in more school districts around the nation, further teaching our children that they not only have to kowtow to police but also that they have to accept having their movements closely monitored by the so-called authorities.
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