Target: Northside Independent School District
Goal: Prohibit the punishment of students who decline new microchip photo IDs.
In San Antonio, Texas, schools have employed new tactics to fight the state’s abysmal truancy levels. Both John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School have instated the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips by imbedding the small devices in student ID cards, enabling officials to track every pupil’s location. Although educators insist the new technology is necessary to stem widespread truancy, many students and parents believe the new requirement invades personal freedoms. Many have chosen to opt-out of the new IDs. According to the new guidelines, students are allowed to continue using their old photo IDs, but recently teachers and officials have begun to target those students who decline the new protocol, finding ways to punish them for their refusal. Students have the right to protect their personal liberties, and should not be subjugated to recriminations and reprisals due to their beliefs.
According to official reports, the new identification rules implemented at the beginning of October require each student to attend classes with a student ID card embedded with an RFID chip. Whether carried in their pockets or worn around their neck, the new IDs are meant to prevent the temptation of truancy and class ditching, as school officials can track where each student goes throughout the school day. The hope is that the new rules will stem the tide of absent students, and if judged to be effective, district officials plan to incorporate the new RFID chips at each of its 112 schools, which would cover approximately 100,000 students.
However, many students and their parents disagree with the invasiveness of the new IDs, saying that they disrespect personal privacy freedoms. And although they have the choice to use their old school IDs, many of these students complain they are being targeted by teachers and officials and are not permitted to participate in various school functions. One student in particular has felt the wrath of teachers who disagree with her right to refuse the new technology. Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay, has told reporters that educators have turned a deaf ear to her appeals for privacy, reporting that she can’t participate in school elections unless she accepts the tracking program.
“I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID. I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote,” Hernandez said. Further aggravating the situation was Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo who wrote a nasty letter to Andrea’s parents, imploring them to make their daughter wear the new tracking ID, or subjugate her to further punishment. “I urge you to accept this solution so that your child’s instructional program will not be affected,” he said. “As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation.”
Such blatant disrespect and bullying of students who value their privacy is highly unethical and immoral. Students who opt out of the invasive tracking program should not be unnecessarily punished. By signing the petition below you can help fight against such injustice and uphold student rights to privacy and freedom.
Dear Northside Independent School District,
Though rampant truancy is cause for concern, implementing an invasive tracking program is not the answer. Many students and their parents believe in personal privacy, and such morals should be respected, not trounced and ridiculed by overzealous educators.
It is absolutely ridiculous that students like Andrea Hernandez are punished for opting-out of the invasive program. RFID chips track the location of each student throughout an entire school day, which directly violates their rights to personal privacy. Rather than subjugate students like Andrea to reprisals and recrimination, educators should accept their personal and private choice.
Take action now to stop the immoral and unethical behavior of teachers and school officials. Students should not be strong-armed into wearing the RFID photo ID cards. Let them finish their terms, like every other student, and be respectful of their right to privacy.
[Your Name Here]