The Canaan, Connecticut school board is in talks with a Westport security company about a pilot program designed to insert radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to students to monitor their activity at school. Secure RF Corp. has invited the New Canaan school district to participate in a “technology experiment,” reports eSchool News.
The microchips could be implanted in student ID cards or other items such as book bags, with the objective of enhanced security for the student body and the ability to track activities such as busing.
Secure RF Corp. approached the school district when it received $100,000 in a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct science research. The security company wants to determine what type of applications the RFID may have in a school setting.
To the New Canaan school board’s credit, board members have been open to hearing the company’s proposal but have not immediately jumped on board, having questions and concerns about not only the feasibility of using the technology, but the ramifications for doing so. Privacy issues are a concern.
At this time, the New Canaan board is considering the trial program as an opt-in program for its high school students.
Supporters of the RFID program cite advantages such as being able to locate students during an evacuation and knowing when students have skipped classes. Many feel there is a preventative potential for the system, in that it could monitor student movements to prevent injury, or worse, to students.
In recent years, many of the laws enacted by our governments on all levels have been aimed at preventing one situation or another–at least that’s the sound byte given to the public. But we are fast becoming tethered by these very laws, our freedoms diminished in the name of prevention. The Patriot Act and the intrusions into private life that it’s enabled comes to mind as a classic example.
School systems should already have procedures in place to determine when a student is not in class, or who goes where during an emergency evacuation–I know they did when I attended school back in the dark ages of the 1960s and 1970s.
The boy in the bubble had to live there to be prevented from an infection that could cost him his life. Many of our laws and procedures do the same thing to us–put us in a bubble of protection. The boy in the bubble yearned to live his life in freedom, and we may soon be doing the same if programs such as the RFID chip for tracking students comes to fruition.