Texas Schools Track Students with RFID Chips! (Nanny of the Month, Nov '12)


This month's lineup of of busybodies includes the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where administrators may ban booze in dorms--even for students of legal drinking age (guess those college kids would just stay dry!). Then there's Chi-Town, where officials are using GPS devices to track food trucks to make sure they don't wander within 200 feet of any fixed businesses that sell food, including convenience stores. Violators could face fines of $2,000. Compare that to the $100 fine you'd face for parking in front of a fire hydrant and you get an idea for just how seriously city officials take the threat of competition. (Good thing the Institute for Justice is on the case.)

But this time the nanny of the month comes to us from deep in the heart of Texas, where administrators at San Antonio's Northside school district are tracking kids with radio frequency identification chips. Dozens of electronic readers have been installed in the school's ceiling panels to keep tabs on the kiddos while they're at school. The official number-one reason for going RFID is to "increase student safety and security," but--since district funding goes up when attendance goes up--it's clearly all about the Benjamins.

With school-based tracking going back to at least 2004, the Lone Star State has been something of an RFID trailblazer. In fact, Northside is considering expanding the program to cover all of the district's 97,000 students.

About 80 seconds.

"Nanny of the Month" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Opening animation by Meredith Bragg.