Starting this fall, all students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School are required to carry identification cards embedded with a microchip. They are tracked by the dozens of electronic readers installed in the schools’ ceiling panels.
Northside has been testing a “radio frequency identification” tracking system for the two schools to increase attendance in order to secure more state funding, officials have said. The program, which kicked off at the beginning of this school year, eventually could be used at all of Northside’s 112 campuses, officials have said. The district is the fourth largest in Texas with more than 97,000 students. (emphasis mine)
One student at John Jay High School, Andrea Hernandez, refused to wear the the id card was then expelled from the magnet school and was going to have to attend a school in the district that wasn’t currently utilizing the program. She said the policy violates her religious beliefs and unduly infringes on her privacy. A district court judge agreed and granted a temporary restraining order to prevent that from happening.
“The court’s willingness to grant a temporary restraining order is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go—not just in this case, but dealing with the mindset, in general, that everyone needs to be monitored and controlled,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.
“Regimes in the past have always started with the schools, where they develop a compliant citizenry. These ‘Student Locator’ programs are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government,” Whitehead warned.
What this boils down to is that the school district’s desire for more funding trumped student privacy.