Print 25 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jun 1 at 6:17 PM

Some parents are worried about the privacy of their children

A school district in San Antonio, Texas is looking to track some of its students using Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags next year.

Northside Independent School District hopes to use RFID tags in two of its schools in order to help protect its students and also increase revenue.

RFID tags are ID cards that track the location of the holder. Northside Independent School District wants to take part in a trial next year where John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School students will carry the RFID tags at all times. This is about 6,290 students total.

"We want to harness the power of the technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in school, and increase revenues," said Pascual Gonzalez, district spokesman. "Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that."

Parents in the school district have had varied reactions to the news. Some have been supportive while others question the need for such invasive technology.

"I would hope teachers can help motivate students to be in their seats instead of the district having to do this," said Margaret Luna, a parent in the district. "But I guess this is what happens when you don't have enough money."

RFID tags could help the school district offset cuts in state funding because attendance plays a huge role in determining revenue. With a more exact attendance count via RFID tags, Northside could receive a total of $1.7 million next year from higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students. If the trial proves successful, RFID tags could go districtwide and bring in a much larger payoff.

The district will pay $525,065 to deploy the trial next year, then another $136,005 annually to run it. Each RFID tag is $15, which students will have to pay if they lose it.

While the payoff could be great for the district, privacy is the main concern of parents. The district says students will only be tracked while they are physically in the school, and only authorized administrative officials will have access to RFID information. However, there are concerns regarding kidnapping if someone were to hack into the system.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) battled a California school in 2005 for using such technology, citing worries over identity theft and kidnapping.

The Northside school board approved the RFID program last Tuesday after a long debate over privacy and potential revenue increases.

Source: My San Antonio

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Say what?!
By NullSubroutine on 5/28/2012 12:32:46 PM , Rating: 4
"We want to harness the power of the technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in school, and increase revenues,

Say what? High schools are operating on the principle of increasing revenues and not education? This has to be a joke.

Besides that, school is not meant to be a prison. It is meant to be a place to learn and a place for you to prepare for your adult life. It is up to each student to attend school and develop the work ethic to attend school and not school's responsibility to play big brother nanny state.

It really sounds like they just want to desensitize young people to 24/7 monitoring so in 20 years when the government forces it on everyone they will have less resistance. But hey, I'm probably just paranoid right?

RE: Say what?!
By foolsgambit11 on 5/28/2012 5:09:50 PM , Rating: 3
They're operating on the principle that education costs money. All government agencies are concerned with ensuring they are adequately funded to achieve their aims. There may not be a 1:1 correspondence between expenses and the quality of education, but we can leave that aside for the moment, because there's even more wrong with their logic here. A school receives funding from the State based on attendance. The school district here is assuming one of two things - either that their current attendance numbers are marking kids as absent who are in fact present in class, or that students will be more likely to attend classes with an RFID attendance system. Neither of those assumptions make much sense.

Students already assume they will be marked absent if they aren't in class. A RFID isn't going to change that. Perhaps it would be harder to hide out on campus, but kids who are skipping class don't need to keep their ID on them. While teachers are prone to errors in keeping attendance, my experience has been that it is almost entirely a matter of marking students as present who are in fact absent, and not the other way around. So it would seem the school district will be losing money, not just in implementing a RFID system, but also from a reduction in reported attendance.

When a new, more accurate map of France was completed in the 18th Century, Louis XV is said to have remarked that the cartographers, through their accuracy, had lost him more territory than he had gained in conquest (France was discovered to be something like 15% smaller than older maps suggested). I have a feeling this new, more accurate data, is going to leave the school district similarly disappointed.

RE: Say what?!
By joex444 on 5/28/2012 6:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
This makes much more sense. The district would only consider these things (well, hopefully) if they thought that knowing you are being monitored would keep kids in school. But that physical attendance only gets money for the district if there is an actual improvement in attendance.

But attendance is a baffling statistic to use. It shows physical presence, that's it. The kid is free to sleep through class, or do anything else non-distracting so far as the teacher feels like doing something about it. My point here is that attendance and education are not necessarily related. We live in a world of compulsory education. Beyond high school it is optional, and you generally find students want to be in class in college and especially graduate school. In high school, kids want nothing to do with it.

Especially the claim that they could get $1.7M from the state. Relative to what? Do they get nothing right now because they can't "prove" their claims on attendance? If they get something, then this $1.7M is an absolute value, what is important is the gain they would get with RFID.

(The more cynical take on this is that one of the district board members is also an insider of the RFID company.)

RE: Say what?!
By MechanicalTechie on 5/28/2012 6:20:05 PM , Rating: 3
The real question is why are you surprised?

Welcome to the 21st century where educational institutions are pushed to make a profit normally at the expensive of the students, governments aren't happy unless your permanently being monitored, a place where if you have enough $$$ you can buy legislation to serve your own needs and where the vast majority of the population are dumb fuks more interested in what's cool/fashionable than improving their minds or protecting their own goddamn rights!

Look around the evidence is everywhere...

RE: Say what?!
By superstition on 5/29/12, Rating: 0
RE: Say what?!
By johnsmith9875 on 5/29/2012 10:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
Just put the RFID tag in their cellphones. If they want privacy they can leave their phone at home.

RE: Say what?!
By geddarkstorm on 5/29/2012 2:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, actually... Cell phones already have a GPS, and if they are iPhones, then Apple already monitors where everyone is. The school could just issue iPhones to all students and call up Apple. Problem solved!

RE: Say what?!
By frobizzle on 5/29/12, Rating: 0
RE: Say what?!
By kattanna on 5/29/2012 11:31:36 AM , Rating: 2
and increase revenues

isnt it heart warming to know that that school district thinks of the kids as stock that needs to be tracked??

RE: Say what?!
By superstition on 6/1/2012 6:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
"It really sounds like they just want to desensitize young people to 24/7 monitoring so in 20 years when the government forces it on everyone they will have less resistance. But hey, I'm probably just paranoid right?"

No. Domestic surveillance, security theater, cameras... It's all happening now. Take a look at cameras in the UK. Not only is London becoming camera city, but there is actually a policy to put cameras into people's homes if their kids don't get good grades.

The Supreme Court recently put a damper on our government surreptitiously putting GPS devices into people's cars, but that's only a small leak that has been patched in what is becoming a deluge of anti-privacy machinations.

Wish they has these when I was in school
By leviathan05 on 5/29/2012 9:02:23 AM , Rating: 5
Me: Hey Mike, I'm going to skip on Thursday, can you take my ID with you in your bag to all of our classes?
Mike: Sure, as long as you cover me on Friday.

RE: Wish they has these when I was in school
By kattanna on 5/29/2012 11:29:25 AM , Rating: 2
LOL pretty much.

or walk into a class where all you see is a bunch of RFID tags sitting in empty chairs..including the teacher


By bitterman0 on 5/29/2012 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
That is why the only way is to implant the tag directly into the body, thereby making it difficult to cheat.

Demolition Man, anyone? I'm surprised not to see John Spartan in the picture for this article.

By Solandri on 5/28/2012 1:50:24 PM , Rating: 3
"I would hope teachers can help motivate students to be in their seats instead of the district having to do this," said Margaret Luna, a parent in the district.

I would hope parents can help motivate students to be in their seats instead of the school having to do so.

Way I see it, what happens in the school is the responsibility of the school and teachers. Getting the kid to school is the parents' responsibility. If your little angel is lying to you and ditching classes after you drop him/her off, you have problems you need to work out with your kid which transcends the school.

RE: Parents
By Dr of crap on 5/29/2012 10:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
My thoughts also.
DO they have an attendance problem is these two schools? And if they do it IS the parents problem as well. And when parents get that through their thick skulls we'll all be better off.

AND I'd bet that a lot of the parents that can't get their kid to actually show up at school also are voicing a problem with privacy issues and THEIR kid.

You wouldn't need this and all the other things school dream up if parents would parent, be involved in their kids lives, and have kids that trust and repect them!

RE: Parents
By iceolate on 5/29/2012 3:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if the parents have a State issued Marriage License, then the State becomes the parent and has all authority over the children. Look up "Parens Patria" ... It's a little known law that paved the way for the corruption that is Family Law, CPS, etc. Incidentally, marriage licenses were created out of a racist system, and are completely unnecessary for a legal marriage. Anyway, don't want to go off-topic, but I've been spreading awareness about this important issue lately.

Education Ripped off Again
By Flunk on 5/28/2012 1:19:37 PM , Rating: 4
$15/RFID tag is a huge ripoff, even if you include the cost of the card or whatever it will be housed in. The actual chips cost < $1 by themselves.

RE: Education Ripped off Again
By ritualm on 5/28/2012 7:21:00 PM , Rating: 2
Mfrs can charge a lot more than $15/tag to government customers, the base material costs don't matter.

Waste of funds
By Ramtech on 5/28/2012 12:29:40 PM , Rating: 5
Instead investing money into improving education they funnel them to some corporation

These are today parents....
By breathlesstao on 5/29/2012 1:15:50 AM , Rating: 2
?"Parents expect that we always know where their children are"

Shouldn't it be the parents to always know that? There's something wrong already if you don't know where your kid is - especially if you drop them off at school or see them take the school bus and yet they're not in school during the day... I agree that schools should be aware of the kids whereabouts - during school hours, within the school campus, if the kids actually turned up there in the morning, to start with. If they didn't, it should not be the school's business at all, let alone in such a privacy-invasive way.

This is just one of the best (and saddest) examples of parents wanting to get the responsibilities off their shoulders; right there with blaming media content providers if their kids do something stupid because of an ad or a TV show or some such. :/ But here's the catch that things like this always make me ask: why have a child if you don't want the responsibilities in the first place???

RE: These are today parents....
By Dr of crap on 5/29/2012 10:11:21 AM , Rating: 2
Because it's like a status symbol or something like that.

You got married,
bought the house,
now you have a kid or three,
BUT you don't want to have the resposibilty of watching and raising a resposible adult from the kid. IT'S TO MUCH PRESSURE and it takes away from the parents having THEIR fun!

By ritualm on 5/28/2012 4:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
sales of anti-RFID products divided by zero following NISD's announcement.

By macawvet on 5/28/2012 7:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
At a convention I regularly attend, this has been tried over several years so that we can print out a list of classes attended. The first year the convention discovered that a large number of attendees weren't recorded! The next year, you had to walk through an arch and tap your tag on the side as you did . This created large traffic jams. Also, large numbers of people still weren't recorded. The systems seem to get "jammed" with several hundred people fililng through and simply give up. I could just see lines of kids trying to get into their classes, and then warning notices being sent home when kids were where they were supposed to be. I just see too many potential problems like that, plus the kids taking their friends tags to school to record them as being present when they weren't. By the way, after too many problem, the convention gave up the idea and we went back to keeping track of our attendance on paper.

By iceonfire1 on 5/28/2012 8:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
Could we get some more details, please? How exactly will a "more exact attendance count" increase funding? What, maybe until now their teachers just glanced at the students and guessed how many there were?

RFID Zapper
By faster on 5/29/2012 8:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
Did anyOne else see the article about building an RFID zapper from a disposable camera? It sends a mini electromagnetic pulse and destroys RFID's. I bet kids could have a whole lot of fun with that.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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