Specialist ID Blog

“Student Locator Project” Texas School Tracking Students with RFID Technology

Since October 1, 2012 students at John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas have been forced to wear lanyards embedded with micro chipped RFID cards that can pinpoint their exact location. The radio frequency identification devices implanted in their ID’s can track a students location anywhere on campus, from a desk to a toilet. Many students and parents are outraged over what the school district is calling the “Student Locater Project”. They’re claiming the RFID tracking technology is being used in a manner that produces unnecessary invasion of privacy.

While the Texas school district claims the program serves to protect students, it’s being enforced in ways that arguably hinder their education and well being. Students that refuse to wear their tracking devices are denied access to food in the cafeteria, books in the library, tickets for events, participation in extracurricular activities, and not allowed to vote for homecoming kings and queens. People are wondering if John Jay High School and the Texas school district is teaching American values by denying them access to food, books, exercise, and the right to vote. With this controversial new program being considered for implementation in 112 other Texas schools, two questions emerge at the forefront. Where is the line between safety and privacy to be drawn, and how can we keep from crossing that line?

One solution to these issues would be to allow the students to choose when they are being tracked, so if they are in danger, they can quickly emit their tracking signal. This can easily be achieved with RFID Blocking shielded badge holders. Our RFID ID Badge Holders shield standard credit card sized photo ID’s that contain sensitive information from unwanted access, so people can keep themselves off the radar when they’d like. By sliding the card away from the shielding, you can easily make the card readable at your discretion.

RFID blocking holders are the bridge between the benefits that modern RFID chips provide and privacy. When students turn their tracking signals on solely for emergency purposes, it makes it easier for the school to discern when a child is in danger. Therefore, increasing their safety and bringing forth a quicker response.  If a student is feeling threatened or endangerd, they’d simply reach for their lanyard and slide their ID out from their RFID Badge Holder to transmit a radio frequency signal to the schools readers. It also allows students and parents who don’t mind being tracked to continuously to do so.

This is only the beginning of many controversial RFID debates that will surely arise. From RFID license plates (Any patrol car within 25 feet of a stolen vehicle, or driver with a suspended license could be pulled over) to Disney Park Passes (Which can locate lost children and track our movements through the parks for better marketing data), and even customer loyalty cards to track movement throughout a store.  Sometimes allowing for people to ‘opt out’ is fair.  For this school district they can still use the RFID technology as a safety feature for their Student Locator Project, while giving the students the right to exercise their privacy and participation in school with shielded holders.

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