A school in San Antonio, Texas, is planning to implant student ID cars with Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) chips next year. Over 100,000 students attend the school, making it difficult for administrators to keep tabs on them, yet some are wondering if the school is going too far.
"I think this is overstepping our bounds and is inappropriate," school trustee M'Lissa m. Chumbley told MySanAntonio.com. "I'm honestly uncomfortable about this."
Administrators, however, hope that using the RFID chips will allow for better tracking of students' habits, locations, and safety. "We want to harness the power of (the) technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues," district spokesman Paul Gonzalez explained.
The school is hoping that the chips will help them deal with the problem of truancy, which affects the amount of money the school receives from the state government. As it stands, the school loses approximately $175,000 per day because of tardy or truant students, Kens 5 News reported.
To install the chips and the necessary equipment will cost $525,065, said Steve Bassett, superintendent for budget and finance. But the payoff could easily make that amount back once students can be tracked and truancy noted.
Many are skeptical of the RFID chips, stating that students will find ways to get around them in no time. "I give the kids five minutes to realize they can hand their friend their ID and not have to go to class. And the school won't care: 'Little Johnny's RFID said he was at school today so we considered him present and took the state money," noted CNET reader ethib.
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"Good point-wherever there is a system, the kids will figure out a way around it," added solitare_pax.
Yet at least one other person noted, "Children are not adults and should not have the same 'free roaming' rights as adults. They are required, by law, to be in a certain place at a certain time to attend to their required education," said skycorgan.
At least two other school districts in Texas currently use the technology and have reported increased revenue as a result. The system is set to take affect next year, with the school board's unanimous approval last week.