Tracking students: Does it go too far?

Published On: Oct 15 2012 05:55:08 PM CDT
Student ID Microchip
HOUSTON -

Microchips are commonly used in things like highway toll tags or as a way to identify lost pets, but now students in San Antonio will be tracked in a similar way, and that's not sitting well with some.

It's something two districts in the Houston area have been doing for years.

Spring ISD was the first to begin using the smart tag technology to monitor students on campus to give a more accurate reading of student attendance.

The district said the program has helped the district recoup nearly $1 million in funds over the last four years.

Spring ISD began using tracking devices back in 2004 to monitor elementary school children as they got on and off school buses.

In 2009, the district adopted newer technology called RFID, or radio frequency identification system.

According to district officials, the ID badges contain no personal information other than the student's ID number, photo and campus.

It's now being used in four Spring ISD high schools and all seven middle schools. The program tracks more than 17,000 kids.

Santa Fe ISD adopted the program in 2010.

Now Northside ISD in San Antonio is following suit to help better track classroom attendance.

"It's dumb. Why are they going to track me at school?" student Joseph Rodriguez said.

"They're tracking us everywhere, like do we have any privacy or anywhere, like, it's uncalled for," student Lilian Tillman added.

Spring ISD officials said parents do have the option to opt out. According to the district, less than a handful have inquired about it over the years.

When asked about the safety of these radio frequency IDs, the districts maintain they pose no health risks and are completely safe to wear.