4 Reasons Parents Should Let Schools Electronically Monitor Their Kids

Say What!? 11

studentIf all the teachers losing their jobs over Facebook mishegas didn't already clue you in: our schools have officially entered the age of Big Brother. Now a Texas high school is trying to convince parents that it's a good idea to tag their kids with RFID chips, the kind of electronic monitoring traditionally used on cattle.

The administrators of the Northside Independent School District think it will cut down on kids cutting class, but parents and their kids are not happy. I hear them. It's all a little Rockwell circa 1984, isn't it? But as much as I want to join in the sturm and drang, I can't help wondering if radio frequency tracking devices in the student ID cards might actually help parents and schools.

Consider this:

1. A tracker would keep our kids from cutting class. I don't know about you, but I want my kid's butt in the seat so she can learn. I think most parents are on board with finding better ways to make sure kids actually go to class.

2. The tracker tracks where kids are on campus. We send our kids to school to learn, not to bum a cigarette and go hide behind the Dumpster, right? If they're only going where they should be going, our kids shouldn't have to worry about what the tracker will pick up.

3. A tracking chip in an ID card is not a webcam watching their every move. So what if it records that your kid went to the bathroom? No one is seeing them drop their pants, and I'm not exactly sure what a school would do with the knowledge that your kid spent 4 minutes and 36 seconds taking a twosie.

4. The trackers are in an ID card, not something implanted in the body. This is not the Manchurian Candidate, folks! At least kids can easily stash these in their locker at the end of the day (because although the school says it will only track the kids on premises, I'm not THAT trusting).

OK, I'm sure there are reasons NOT to have these trackers too ... I'm not fully convinced it's the best idea. Kids should have rights too, and they need to feel trusted to a certain extent. 

But instead of fighting all Big Brother intrusion in our schools, maybe it's time we debated why suggestions like this keep cropping up ... and try to find a happy medium. We do need to protect our headstrong teenagers after all.

What do you think of trackers that only track a kid's movements in a school building? Is it possible to do this without being too intrusive on a kid's privacy?


Image via Univers Beeldbank/Flickr

issues, school


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Megan Lee

No no no no no

OoOJa... OoOJanisOoO

If the trackers are in id cards they won't work. How hard would it be to guve it to a friend to put in an empty seat so it looks like you are in class? I don't think it is necessary. There are much better things to spend money on.

nonmember avatar gigimama

These can be undermined so, so easily. Like another commentor noted, a friend can carry it around with him or her easily.

Also: No. It's alarming how many people will gladly give up liberty, freedom, and privacy. Believe it or not, people used to function well without eyes on them at all times. It's because we expected a lot of others and ourselves. Now, we treat kids like they are pre-criminals and idiots. Ever hear of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

tnyangel tnyangel

Right. Like anyone is going to let this happen? This reminds me of the palm scan for a faster lunch line story, parents will certainly yank their kids from this school before they would give this a chance. Plus, I'm with OoOJanisOoO, schools are seriously strapped for cash, this would be an expensive fiasco. 

nonmember avatar MO Mom

No. This just seems creepy to me.

Betwe... BetweenCourses

Wouldn't it just be easier to pierce all the students upper ears with the tag? Just like the cows? :-)

count... countrygirl670

"...maybe it's time we debated why suggestions like this keep cropping up ... and try to find a happy medium."

Maybe suggestions like these keep "cropping up" because someone who invented "student tracking devices" is looking for a payday and got cozy with some asinine school administrator who at the same time is looking to make his mark.  What's the point of this?  Tracking devices don't help you learn.  They don't make you pay attention.  They don't make you smarter.  Hell, they don't even make you physically "there."  All they do is tell where you are. If you have it in your pocket.  At school.  Meanwhile, the teacher has already merely glanced up (dig the no cost low technology solution) and noticed the student isn't in class.  

loves... lovesouldoula

If they tried to do this to me when I was in high school I would go all Bart Simpson in their asses and tie my tracking card to a pigeon, sendIng the authorities on a wild goose chase to find me and sit back eating ice cream laughing at them as they did. this is ridiculous and a complete invasion of privacy. Why not spend a little money figuring out why kids hate going there and maybe changing things so, oh I dont know, they actually enjoyed learning and WANTED to be there. Why not put money back into the art and music programs or create new methods that actually stimulate the mind of an adolescent? Geez.

Todd Vrancic

And if the kid left it in his/her locker, would they be breaking into the locker to "rescue" him/her.  Because I know that all of my kids would have parked that sucker in their lockers and promptly forgotten about it.

amazz... amazzonia

Another good reason to homeschool

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