Texas school district to require students to wear RFID chip whil on campus

A school district in San Antonio, Texas is requiring middle and high school students to wear a "tracking" chip while on campus. And not just a passive RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chip, these second generation RFID chips include a battery that transmits a radio signal for constant location monitoring of the students. District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said, "Chip readers on campuses and on school buses can detect a student's location but can't track them once they leave school property. Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information."

Yea, right.

From the San Antonio Times, May 12, 2012 we read:

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.

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 district's stated reason is to help obtain funding from the state by documenting the number of students who attend the school.

The district plans to spend $525,065 to implement the pilot program and $136,005 per year to run it, but it will more than pay for itself, predicted Steve Bassett, Northside's assistant superintendent for budget and finance. If successful, Northside would get $1.7 million next year from both higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students, he said.

In [last May's] board debate, trustee M'Lissa M. Chumbley said she worried that parents might feel the technology violated their children's privacy rights. She didn't want administrators tracking teachers' every move if they end up outfitted with the tags, she added.

Farmers currently use chips to track cattle and hogs. RFID is also commonly used for tracking store retail inventories and monitoring vehicle access to gated properties. Now that we have the technology, we're "chipping" our children for money and their supposed safety? Orwell and Huxley must be outraged that their warnings have gone so unheeded.

From a current report in WND by Jack Minor, on the students already wearing these chips this year, we read:

.....a counselor at the school told Steve Hernandez, a parent whose daughter Andrea is a sophomore at John Jay [high school], that the district currently does not have any single person assigned to monitor the location of students or track the data.

"That destroys the argument that the purpose to track students for attendance purposes," Hernandez said. "How are they supposed to safeguard privacy concerns if no one is responsible for its administration?"

Heather Fazio, executive director of Texans for Accountable Government, said the district has not been willing to take steps to listen to parent's concerns over the chips.

Highlighting the dangers the chips pose to student privacy issues even while off campus, Fazio said she was able to get list containing the names and addresses of all of the students in the district by filing a Freedom of Information Request.

"After paying a $30 fee with the FOIA request I was able to get every student's name and address," Fazio explained. "Using this information along with an RFID reader means a predator could use this information to determine if the student is at home and then track them wherever they go. These chips are always broadcasting so anyone with a reader can track them anywhere."

Read the entire article, it's the old-school investigative journalism we hope to find but rarely read anymore.

Americans cannot allow the onrush of technology to not so incrementally destroy our 4th amendment rights of privacy as partially addressed in the recent SCOTUS case, United States v. Jones. While a few constitutionally clueless schools boards have already taken the big leap from chipping farm animals to chipping our school children, the next small steps to chipping all our citizens cannot be far behind. Dictators and tyrants, hiding behind the twin veils of safety and fairness will rush to embrace these new tools at their disposal.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  Unless all the good men and women of this nation act forcefully against these electronic chains now placed on our children, we too shall be so chained.

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