San Antonio Schools to Track Students Whereabouts With ID Card Microchips

I don’t have a problem if people want to implant a microchip in their pets in case they get lost.  I also understand the need for using a microchip implanted in the shoes of Alzheimer’s patients in case they get lost.

However, I do have a problem when a school district decides to implant a Radio Frequency Identification System microchip in student’s ID card so they can track them.

Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas recently announced that they intend to use such a tracking system for students at two of their schools and for all special education students that use school buses for transportation.  District officials say this encompasses nearly 6,300 students.

They claim the reason for doing so is to help generate more revenue for the schools and school district.  Some of the funding the school receives is based upon attendance and officials believe that the tracking system will yield more accurate and higher attendance figures, resulting in increased revenue.

According to Pascual Gonzalez, a spokesman for the school district, the tracking of the student’s location will be done using readers placed in the schools and on the school busses and that only authorized administrators will have access to the tracking data.  Supposedly, once a student leaves the campus or school bus, they will no longer be tracked.

I have no problem with the school trying to keep track of a student’s location while at school, but this system is not entirely safe or fool proof.  First of all, almost any computer system is hackable.  What happens if the tracking software is hacked into and used for other than official purposes?  What if there are less than ethical school administrators that use the tracking for less than ethical practices?

No one asked or answered whether or not the microchips can be tracked outside the school with the right equipment, they just said that the schools would not track them once they left school property.  Nothing in the report listed the distance limitations to the radio frequency used by the microchips.  What if someone obtained a tracking reader outside the school?  This could easily be used by perverts and sexual predators.

Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone, school officials or anyone else tracking my kids or grandkids outside of school.  I believe that this tracking system could easily be misused and in so doing would be an invasion of privacy.  I wouldn’t want someone else tracking my every move, would you?

In 2005, a California rural elementary school was planning on using the same technology when the ACLU stepped to challenge the legality of it on the basis of it being an invasion of privacy.  The challenge was successful and the program was cancelled.  As much as I dislike the ACLU, I would like to see them step into the situation in San Antonio and stop what possibly could be a dangerous program.