The Northside school district in Austin, Texas is implementing a program that tracks its students with RFID chips in their school ID’s, which are worn around their necks. The stated purpose is to increase attendance and thereby increase revenue. Schools with attendance problems receive less revenue from the state than those without attendance problems. So, the theory is that if they can raise attendance through tracking students, they’ll bring in more revenue from the state.
School officials are lauding this program and saying that it will pay for itself. Although the school will be spending over half a million dollars just to implement it and over $100,000 a year to maintain it, they anticipate bringing in $1.7 million in state revenue.
They claim that they’re doing the parents a favor by knowing where the students are at all times. The Northside Independent School District made this statement:
Northside ISD is harnessing the power of radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to make schools safer, know where our students are while at school, increase revenues and provide a general purpose “smart” ID card. Parents entrust us with their children and expect that we always know where their children are; this technology will help us do that.
Some parents aren’t too happy with the idea. They don’t want their kids being conditioned to believe that being tracked is normal or mandatory. Some have fears about the “mark of the beast,” and that this program is only the beginning. School officials are promising that students will only be tracked during school hours, and that when they leave after school, they won’t be able to track them.
At some point, what do you think these students are going to be doing with these ID necklaces? What if they want to skip a class? They can take the necklace off and have one of their friends hold on to it for them. If kids are going to play hooky, they’re going to find a way around the system. Maybe some kid will develop an underground “hooky ring” where he charges fellow students in order to store their ID’s for them while they leave. Teachers would eventually find out, but these kinds of things would for sure happen. What would their solution be then? There’s already too much money at stake to just scrap the program, so maybe they would mandate that the trouble students be implanted with the chip. Then, later on, they might as well just go ahead and implant every student with a chip.
Schools aren’t the only ones that are doing this. Thanks to the Real ID Act, states will be using chips in their driver’s licenses. Michigan already has an “enhanced driver’s license” that uses RFID tracking. Other states may also. In the same way that teachers use these chips to monitor students’ whereabouts, soon government officials will be monitoring us all as if we’re all prisoners. To keep us safe, of course.