Civil Liberties

Maybe Your Kid Won't Be Ear-Tagged After All. Student-Tracking Loses Favor.



They've tried monitoring students with RFID chips, video cameras, intrusive phone apps, fingerprint scanners, and demands for social media passwords. And along the road to clasping school kids in the smothering embrace of complete and total safety at every single moment (guaranteed!) public school educrats have managed something extremely impressive: they've freaked normal human beings right the fuck out. Some states now see a backlash, as parents come to realize that letting bureaucrats follow their offspring everywhere is both creepy and unwise.

At Stateline, Jeffrey Stinson writes:

But those tools, which are supposed to make schools safer and more efficient, have become a flashpoint for controversy. Several states are now banning or restricting the use of the technology in schools, as worries over student privacy have risen amid breaches of government and commercial computer databases.

This year, Florida became the first state to ban the use of biometric identification in its schools. Kansas said biometric data cannot be collected without student or parental consent. New Hampshire, Colorado and North Carolina said the state education departments cannot collect and store biometric data as part of student records.

New Hampshire and Missouri lawmakers said schools can't require students to use ID cards equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that can track them. The new laws are similar to one Oregon passed last year and what Rhode Island Iawmakers passed in 2009.

The laws reflect a growing sense of unease among parents and lawmakers about new technology, how it's being used, what student data is being collected and stored and what security protects the information.

Many school officials and the companies that supply the technology insist that tracking the little darlings is a swell idea, and perfectly safe, too. But even people who aren't inherently offended by constant monitoring are aware that no database  completely safe, and that government databases leak like sieves even when they're not being actively abused by the officials with access to them.

Nobody really knows how many schools have gone the total-surveillance route, so whether this is a serious rebellion or merely a speedbump on the road to panopticon is anybody's guess. Is it really necessary to point out that the police state environment is just one more reason to avoid public schools?

Note: My son is homeschooled. He's in the front yard. I think.