A couple of Texas high schools have come up with a way to truly know exactly where their students are at all times. Two San Antonio schools now require students to wear RFID (radio-frequency identification) badges in order to track their location and keep attendance rates up.
The RFID system, that may some day be issued to more than 100,000 students in 112 San Antonio schools, allows school administrators to receive a constant broadcasted signal of their students’ whereabouts, down to what seat they are sitting in inside a classroom. The Texas schools have adopted the controversial badges partially due to the fact that their funding is based on attendance and feel this is a sure fire way to keep the kids in their seats.
BBC reports about 15-year-old student, Andrea Hernandez, who recently lost her appeal to stop wearing the badge citing that it infringes on her religious beliefs. It is Hernandez belief that wearing the tracking badge is biblically symbolic of the “mark of the beast”, but a federal court has now ruled that she must either wear the tracking badge at school or transfer to a different school.
Other critics of the RFID badge voice concerns over the students’ right to privacy. PC World reports about privacy advocacy groups stance on the subject of these badges. Alexander C. Hirsch, from The John Marshall Law School, explained in the Journal of Computer and Information Law why RFID badges infringe on a students’ fourth amendment rights. Hirsch says, “Requiring children to wear RFID tags while on school grounds infringes upon their Fourth Amendment right from unreasonable search and seizure, and … Courts should readopt the probable cause standard as the appropriate standard to be applied to the use of RFID technology in schools.”
What do you think of these Texas schools’ use of tracking devices on their students?
Do you think this is a good way to ensure a high rate of attendance or does it infringe on the students’ right to privacy?