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2. Microchip Tracking
San Antonio teen Andrea Hernandez, 15, made waves in late 2012 for refusing to wear a microchip that allowed her school to electronically track her location. Her case drew ire from privacy activists from both the left and the right. A federal judge ruled Tuesday, however, that the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel Hernandez from Jay High School (of note, a public magnet school) if she refused to wear the school ID. As Forbes notes, though, the school actually removed the tracking chip as a compromise, but she still doesn't want to carry around the location badge. The conservative Rutherford Institute, which is representing Hernandez, is promising to appeal.
Note the defense of the tracking chips in the Thomson Reuters news report:
The school district - the fourth largest in Texas with about 100,000 students - is not attempting to track or regulate students' activities, or spy on them, district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said. Northside is using the technology to locate students who are in the school building but not in the classroom when the morning bell rings, he said.
Texas law counts a student present for purposes of distributing state aid to education funds based on the number of pupils in the classroom at the start of the day. Northside said it was losing $1.7 million a year due to students loitering in the stairwells or chatting in the hallways.
If they already know where the students are loitering, what exactly is the value of the tracking chips? How is somebody looking up the kids’ location on a computer and then tracking them down physically any more efficient than just having a hall monitor?
Next: Let’s stop kicking kids out of school!