If 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.
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