Andrea Hernandez fights back against tracking ID cards at her school—The “Student Locator Project” for tracking ID cards launched in October 2012 as a way for school employees to know the whereabouts of all students all the time. The Huffington Post reports the initiative, which is expected to eventually affect more than 100,000 students in the state of Texas, utilizes RFID (GPS) locator chips embedded in school identification badges to track the movements of students.
Since the project’s introduction, a number of people have voiced their concerns about the process, claiming the tracking ID devices are an invasion of privacy and are unnecessary. School officials, however, maintain parents expect them to be responsible for their children while at school, and the tracking devices are the best way to keep up with that responsibility.
“This Student Locator Project will be piloted at Jay High School, Jay Science & Engineering Academy and at Jones Middle School and be fully operational by the end of September,” wrote administrators from the Jay School District in an initial letter sent home to parents.
“The project has several goals and is dependent on a ‘smart’ student identification card that all students will be required to wear during the school day. This ‘smart’ ID card will transmit location information of students to electronic readers which are installed throughout the campus. This is so that we always know where the students are in the building. After all, parents, you expect school staff to always know where your children are during the school day,” stated the letter.
Controversy surrounds student tracking ID cards
While many of the schools maintain protest of the new system is minimal, some students have responded to the tracking requirements with court litigation and other forms of legal protest. Some, who refused to wear the student badges, have been banned from participating in some school events such as voting for prom king and queen.
“I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” a student told WND. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”
Andrea Hernandez stopped wearing her tracking ID badge for religious reasons, citing it was viewed in her religion as “the mark of the beast.” Due to her refusal, Hernandez was suspended from school, prompting her family to seek legal assistance. Now, according to BBC, Hernandez may attend school without the badge until her case is settled.
The pilot program has not spread to encompass all public schools in the state of Texas, and public views on the program remain mixed. The general idea behind opposition to tracking ID cards is that of an increase in too-personal national security and constant monitoring.
“Whatever benefit that can be derived from tagging students in this manner is more than offset by the great potential for abuse and misuse of the tracking system,” wrote commentator “Allan the Thoughtful” on BBC. “The mere fact that the vast majority of students and parents choose to accept to be monitored in this way shows the power of the herd mentality. Kudos to this lone student who dares to challenge authority on a significant issue.”
What do you think about GPS tracking ID cards? Friend or foe?