Should schools track your kid?
Truancy is a time-honored tradition among school kids – don’t pretend you didn’t do it. Or at least knew a kid that did it. Recently though, with GPS-wired apps in their smartphones and tracking chips in their ID cards, students have had a much harder time pulling a Ferris Bueller.
This year, the Northside Independent School District started handing out ‘smart’ ID cards to students at middle and high schools to keep tabs on their students, should any try to go walkabout. Which is either an ingenious solution, or a terrifying invasion of privacy, depending on your point of view.
High schooler Andrea Hernandez leans towards the latter, recently avoiding suspension from school for refusing to carry the card. The school argues the card is necessary for accessing essential school services like the cafeteria or library; Andrea’s legal defense team argues it’s to do with keeping attendance up to get more government money; Hernandez herself likens it to a Satanic ‘mark of the beast’.
While other US schools have considered using similar systems, so far, there’s no statewide or federal mandate for them to do so. Hernandez’s case brings up questions about schools slapping homing beacons on their students – should they have that kind of authority? Or are they a smart way to keep track of students - not to mention provide parents with some peace of mind? Does students’ privacy matter?
But, perhaps the most important question of all is this: Would you want your child to carry one?