Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Students Tracked By RFID Badges

As ridiculous as the NAIS system is (see Monica for information), this is even worse. A government school in California has issued badges with RFID chips for the students to wear. You know, to make it easier to take attendance (all emphasis added).
The badges introduced at Brittan Elementary School on Jan. 18 rely on the same radio frequency and scanner technology that companies use to track livestock and product inventory.
. . .

Each student is required to wear identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when the child passes under an antenna posted above a classroom door.

Children are not livestock or products!

And here's the real kicker:

The system was imposed, without parental input, by the school as a way to simplify attendance-taking and potentially reduce vandalism and improve student safety.

WITHOUT PARENTAL INPUT. No choice. Your kids attend that school, you must tag them like livestock before putting them on the bus so that the school officials know where they are. Can you imagine?

And is vandalism or safety that much of a problem at this school? It's only referred to as a potential--this is obviously an excuse to get people worried so they won't oppose the measure. "But WHAT IF there was vandalism?" Oh, the horrors. Instead of catching the perpetrators, it really just saves more time and effort to treat ALL students as if they were actual criminals!

And do I really need to point out that vandals are A) unlikely to go hog wild on school grounds in the middle of the school day, and B) are really, really unlikely to wear their RFID badges to school after hours when they break into the school in order to wreak havoc?

One parent interviewed in the article told his kids not to wear their badges--but the school administration has warned that kids could be disciplined for refusing to cooperate. The principal doesn't mention the what form that discipline might take. He is confused by all the hoopla, however:

"Sometimes when you are on the cutting edge, you get caught," Graham said, recounting the angry phone calls and notes he has received from parents.

You get caught? Huh?

This system is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. I sure hope no other school system adopts similar measures, but . . . let's just say I've run out of the Audacity of Hope.

This "cutting edge" technology is perfect for those who would style themselves as better knowledgeable and better equipped than you to instruct your children and control their behavior. This is the environment where American children supposedly are learning about some of the principles upon which this country was founded: liberty, the presumption of innocence, individual responsibility, independence from tyranny.

It sure would be nice if someone, especially one of those students, pointed out that irony.

1 comment:

cathy said...

Too bad schools can't put as much energy into teaching as they do in wasting taxpayer money on high-tech gadgets.