Several Texas lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban the use of RFID tracking of students, according to MySanAntonio.com. This comes after San Antonios' Northside Independent School District began a pilot program using RFID technology in student identification cards last fall.
Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. Cindy Burkett filed bills that would ban the use of RFID chips in schools. State Senator Craig Estes has filed a state senate bill that would do the same.
The chips help the schools keep track of student attendance, even when students aren't present for roll call. State funding for schools is based on attendance. According to the article, "The Houston-area school districts — Spring and Santa Fe ISDs — have used the technology for several years and reported gains of hundreds of thousands of dollars for improved documentation of attendance without any major backlash."
A Northside school district student sued the district, saying the badge violates her religious beliefs. Salon reports that the student lost the suit.
According to MySanAntonio:
“I am concerned that this technology can be very dehumanizing,” Kolkhorst said. “I really don't like how parents don't have much input and think it is an example of government overstepping its bounds.”
The Dec. 14 massacre of elementary school students in Connecticut also seems likely to have an impact on the debate.
“With all due respect to the legislators, the effort is probably misunderstood,” district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said. “This is not about tracking students; it's about locating students when we need to, within the four walls of the school. This is especially important when the security of the school is threatened.”
The article states that Kolkhorst has pushed similar bills in prior sessions but they have failed; this it the first time Estes is involved in pushing a bill aligned with Kolkhorst's bill.