Parents who want to know whether or not their children are cutting class or getting into trouble now have a high-tech way to keep tabs on the behavior of their sons and daughters. For the upcoming school year, students within the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas will be greeted with microchips along with their books and assignments. The Radio Frequency Identification System will be worn around the necks of middle and high schoolers and track their movements during school hours. Intended to aid with safety, representatives of the District also cite budget cuts as a reason to implement the technology.
Teachers and administrators will have a powerful tool to keep students in their seats and will thereby receive more funding from the government. The district intends to spend $525,065 to start the program, which will cost about $136,005 each year to operate. If all goes according to plan, they are set to accept almost $1.7 million in aid.
Microchipping programs have been implemented before — both in the US and abroad. Two districts in Houston, Texas and one in Anaheim, California have used GPS to track students with poor attendance with some success. A Swedish daycare ran a pilot program last year to monitor its children, and a town in Brazil has used chips to see whether or not their students were showing up for class.
While the technology may help with discipline and possibly keeping children out of harm’s way, it raises questions as to the nature of free will, trust between children and parents, and the effectiveness of schools to keep kids motivated to learn without the threat of punishment. In a time where citizens are wary of government listening in to phone and Internet communications, would you let your children be microchipped? Do the benefits to schools and attendance outweigh the ability for students to make choices on their own? What would you do?
via Take Part