Student expelled for refusing to wear RFID tracking chip badge

Nov 22, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  2 Comments

by Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

A student who had protested a pilot program initiated in her school for students to carry IDs with RFID tracking chips embedded was expelled from her school. However, a judge later blocked the suspension pending further hearings.

Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at the John Jay High School in San Antonio, Tex., did not like the idea of her school tracking her every move, and with the support of her parents, protested the idea over the summer. Digital Journal reported on the issue after the Texas schools initially decided to implement tracking chips in its school IDs.

The ID card, integrated with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that enabled schools to track a student’s movement through school property, was to be worn around a student’s neck at all times until they left the property. Embedded in the chips is personal data, which reportedly also includes Social Security numbers.

The school cites safety and accountability issues, and is, in essence, a simplified way of taking attendance without physically having an adult take manual attendance.

Hernandez, with a small group of others, protested the district’s “Smart ID” pilot program and refused to carry the new ID card. The school had allegedly offered her the opportunity to wear the ID card without the RFID chip, however it would still have had a barcode, and Hernandez refused. Additionally, it is alleged the school told the family they would have to publicly support the program.

When Hernandez, and her family, refused, the school decision makers said they would expel the 10th grader.

According to ZDNet, Hernandez was later expelled from her high school because of her refusal to carry the ID. Her attorneys are currently moving to stop the expulsion, citing a violation of the Texas’ Religious Freedom Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Wired reported this afternoon that a local Texas judge tentatively halted Hernandez’ suspension from school. The Rutherford Institute said a hearing will be held next week.

“What we’re teaching kids is that they live in a total surveillance state and if they do not comply, they will be punished,” John Whitehead, Rutherford Institute told Infowars (via ZDNet). “There has to be a point at which schools have to show valid reasons why they’re doing this.”

In addition to the shaping of society issue, there are also the motives claimed to be behind the program, all of which are believe to be rooted in money.

“There is something fundamentally disturbing about this school district’s insistence on steamrolling students into complying with programs that have nothing whatsoever to do with academic priorities and everything to do with fattening school coffers,” said Whitehead, reported Wired.

For several years now, schools have either been blatantly or quietly trying to integrate student tracking in various forms. This is an issue that is not going away and will likely increase as technology becomes more assimilated into administrative processes, which leads to the ethical question of whether or not schools should monitor students with ‘spychips’?

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]


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