When I was in school, there were no metal detectors greeting us at the door nor armed police — and children were in their classrooms at the expected times. Those that were not got detention and eventually were suspended from school. We knew that in order to get an education our rears needed to be in our seats, attention on the teacher.
It seems that things have changed just a bit since then and one high school in San Antonio took it to the level of issuing student identification cards containing RFID chips that allow school administrators to know where the students are at any given time while they are on the school campus.
The school has a major problem, apparently, with students being in the school building but not in the right place in the building — which leads to the school missing out on nearly two million dollars in state education funding. I can imagine many ways to entice students to be in their classrooms at the right time that would not involve treating them like animals. Considering the amount of money that is at stake, it would seem more prudent to offer incentives to the student to make it to class on time, be it in the form of punishment or reward.
One student who refused to wear the RFID cards had the threat of suspension leveled against him — for the ‘crime’ of not wanting to be tracked around the school like a deer wandering around the woods.
In addition to not wanting to wear the identification tags, the student and her father were blocked from distributing literature about the danger of the RFID tags in the school. The good news is that a judge recently ruled that the school is not allowed to suspend the student from school because of the refusal to wear the RFID tags and she and her father cannot be stopped from distributing informational literature about RFID tags.
It seems clear that the school is trying to inculcate the students into a world where their every move and eventually thought is tracked — whether by the government or not. I am glad that there are students out there that are resisting this insanity.
In my high school, you were required to have a hall pass, but it didn’t matter if you had one or not because our school was ancient and there were lots of stairs and levels and corners and nooks and additions that made it impossible to track any student. If you saw a teacher coming down the hallway, you just turned a corner and disappeared. They’d never find you.
In the newer high schools, built on a Panopticonic spoke system — one level layout where a single teacher could monitor every public space — it was impossible to hide because there was nowhere to turn away from an approaching teacher. In those schools, if you didn’t have a pass, you were severely punished as a threat to the general welfare of the successful operation of the school.
RFID technology would have evened the fairness playing field in my hometown high schools because, with RFID, there would be no place to hide. The system either sees you in the right place or it does not.
As an instructor, and I’ve argued this elsewhere, I love the idea of RFID technology because then student attendance is done by the computer system and not me. I would no longer have to argue about tardiness or if you were actually in class or not. The RFID technology would take care of that for me so I could concentrate on teaching and not truancy, and for those students who tried to beat the system, automatic expulsion for anyone with more than one RFID tag would be enforced — for everyone involved in the scam to beat the system.
I like the perspective of an educator — yet I still am cautious of the idea of inculcating students to have their whereabouts tracked by an unblinking eye…
If the safety of the students is important to the school and the parents — then why would we not want to know where the students are every moment of the school day? We aren’t tracking them off campus. We’re just knowing where they are inside the school building. I have a hard time finding a downside to that idea. If the kids get in trouble, or disappear, or are kidnapped, we can track back their every movement and see which students were around them at the time.
I also think teachers and administrators should have RFID tags. That’s only fair and it serves the same purpose.
You are right on both counts — all students and faculty should be tracked via RFID tags while in the school — it certainly would help keep them safer. However, I would like to know if you think that it gives them (the children) any kind of education about what they can expect from the government in the future?
I would hope that it teaches students that computers are watching and evaluating their behavior every moment of every day — and to do the right thing. It used to be enough to say, “God is watching you!” — to crete proper moral behavior. Now it seems technology is a better cudgel than eternal damnation.
So the lesson seems to be, “our country is a giant panopticon — get used to always being watched!”
Right! Our smartphones are already doing all that and more anyway.
There is certainly a lot of room for debate on this subject. There’s been internet chatter about the RFID being issued by the government in lieu of the SSN.
Some are scared to death, some welcome the idea.
Facebook has a page called “Refuse the RFID chip”
I’m a believer in personal freedom.
In regard to the subject at hand, the schools do have a large issue to deal with. Children don’t WANT education, and seem to think parents and society are crushing their independence with all the ‘rules and regs’.
As a parent, Gordon has a large decision to make in the near future of how to deal with today’s education issues.
As for me, I plead ’empty nest’, and am thankful for it. 🙂
Too true! Unless we go the home school route!
If you can find a way to make it work ……. you won’t regret it.
With the rising costs of schools, it may be our only option!