I have to admit that, as much as I hate the judge’s decision, I can’t deny that it will improve the student’s education by preparing him for what American life is going to be like when he grows up to take his place as a serf in the system. Reuters reports,
“A public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from a magnet school at Jay High School, because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students. The judge refused the student's request to block the district from removing her from the school while the case works its way through the federal courts.”
Of course, preparing students for this kind of future is a self-fulfilling outcome. It is by training children to accept RFID monitoring that the state is more likely to get away with mandating it for adults in the future. The ACLU said it well:
“We don't want to see this kind of intrusive surveillance infrastructure gain inroads into our culture. We should not be teaching our children to accept such an intrusive surveillance technology.”
No, we should not.
I was somewhat surprised to see the Christian organization, the Rutherford Institute, represent Hernandez and vow to appeal the case, claiming the electronic monitoring violated Hernandez’s “right to privacy.” After all, that “right” was notoriously “discovered” in order to justify overturning all state laws against abortions. But it also made me realize the sheer horrible irony. There have been states (and maybe still are) in which the right to privacy meant a public school could take your daughter to get an abortion without telling the parents. The “right to privacy” is somehow only aimed against the family to restrain common law relationships. It is virtually never aimed at an agency of the State. If a parent wanted to chip a child, I am willing to bet the courts would find some excuse to claim that is not permitted. Only public institutions get to monitor us by remote.
The school staff is full of assurances that they are not using the monitoring to actually spy on people, but only to make sure they are in class when the bell rings. This seems like a really expensive and intrusive substitute for taking attendance. And it only makes sense that these new technologies will not be full abused overnight. First, some minimal and non-threatening excuse must be developed so that the technology is implemented. Then, either publicly or secretly, the use of the technology can be widened. The only way to realistically stop from becoming a slave in a Big-Brother system is to keep the Big-Brother tools from ever being used.
In any case, a couple of years ago a school official busted a student for eating candy at home because he had borrowed a laptop from school that was equipped to spy on students. I know not every school is equally bad, but I still think it is stupid to simply accept these new means of monitoring students and pretend there is no reason to be concerned.
In Israel, if a creditor came to a poor man’s door to get his collateral for the debt, he was not permitted to enter the poor man’s home. He had to stay and wait outside the door until his debtor brought the collateral out to him (Deuteronomy 24.10, 11). Symbolic boundaries are what preserves our dignity and communicates to the State that we are not its property.
In my opinion, RFID chips might be appropriate for prisoners who have committed a crime, but not for free Americans.