Where’s Johnny? Let’s check his GPS

Ever wish you could use GPS to track your child’s every move? According to this article from CNN.com, a San Antonio school district will soon be doing just that. Starting in September 2012, the district will be distributing ID cards enabled with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to 6,290 students.

The idea behind the concept is to be able to determine where any given student is at any time during the school day. The chips will be able to detect when a student boards a school bus, goes to the nurse or is on the playground, although the chips won’t work outside of school grounds.

The school argues that, “…parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that.” The American Civil Liberties Union, and other privacy advocates are strongly against the idea.

There is a cost factor, but school officials believe the program will pay for itself — they expect to gain more than $250,000 in attendance revenue from the state by having a more accurate attendance mechanism, and $1.2 million from Medicaid, because the district will be tracking kids with special needs too.

What do you think of this idea? Is GPS tracking of students within a school building a good idea, or a violation of privacy and a waste of money?

3 thoughts on “Where’s Johnny? Let’s check his GPS

  1. If school campuses are public grounds, there should be no real expectation of privacy while in school. Besides, students shouldn’t be doing anything on school grounds that it wouldn’t be appropriate for school personnel to know about.

  2. It sounds like an expensive and dumb idea. If the cards only work in school, what’s the point? If a student is not in class, or wherever he is supposed to be, why would anyone suppose he would carry his card around enabling him to be easily found? What about kids purposely trading cards or hanging them on another kid’s backpack or custodian’s cart as a joke. It might almost make sense if the IDs worked everywhere, so a young kid left on a bus, or walking home alone could be easily found, but even that seems sort of Big Brother-ish. And besides, I’m not so sure I even buy the idea that they only work in school. So privacy becomes an issue for me too.
    I’ll concede some sense behind the special ed application, but if I was the parent of a special needs kid, I would be offended by the notion that the school needs an electronic mechanism to keep track of my child. Isn’t that what teachers and aides are for?

  3. You microchip your dog so that if they ever get lost you can find them. Has anyone ever thought to try this on our children so they don’t get kidnapped. Worth considering

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