Freedom Prevails As Officials Scrap Texas School System’s RFID Student Monitoring Program

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A pilot program at a massive San Antonio school district that required students to wear microchipped IDs and submit to on-campus location tracking at all times has been canned — in part due to students’ staunch resistance and the support of freedom-minded Texans who vehemently campaigned against it.

Students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School — both part of the city’s Northside Independent School District (NSID) — had been asked to carry the cards, which housed radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips so that administrators could know their locations. The test program had been in place at the two schools — affecting a combined student population of 4,200 — since the start of the 2012-2013 academic year. There are about 100,000 students in the district as a whole. A representative for the pilot program insinuated late last year that the goal was to expand RFID tagging to all students.

John Jay sophomore Andrea Hernandez spearheaded a student effort to stand up to the district for attempting to track and herd students as if they were cattle, and she did so early and often. The Board of Education attempted to shun the negative publicity, omitting any mention of a huge protest at its Aug. 28 meeting from its public distillation of the minutes.

Hernandez never wore her RFID badge. She persuaded other students not to wear theirs. She was kicked out of John Jay High School in January, but by then, the logistical task of enforcing the program’s “requirements” in the face of so much resistance — as well as the negative publicity and public outcry engendered from national coverage of the swelling controversy — had begun to stack the odds against Big Brother.

Despite legal defeats and disappointment with efforts to persuade the Texas State Legislature, Hernandez and her family had helped foster broad participation among students and parents within the district, as well as out-of-State residents concerned that their own school districts would attempt RFID monitoring. Hernandez’ father said he has spoken with parents in Florida, Louisiana and Pennsylvania who are preparing to resist similar programs.

In announcing the end of the ID tagging ploy, NSID Superintendent Brian Woods said, “When we looked at the attendance rates, surveys of parents… how much effort it took to track down students and make them wear the badges, and to a lesser degree, the court case and negative publicity, we decided not to [continue] it.”

The pilot program cost half a million dollars to set up at the two schools, and would have required $140,000 annually for maintenance at the two locations. San Antonio-based Wade Garcia & Associates was originally hired to implement and maintain the program.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • tinker_thinker

    I think we need them for the teachers and administration, with full read outs due/reviewed every Monday.

    • Quester55

      Hasn’t the Government gotten enough control over us, that you, TINKER, would grant them even more??
      What’s it like being a Sellout in favor of Communism ??

      • tinker_thinker

        Actually I had in mind that if teachers and administration suffered from this maleficence then no one would be voting for democrats again.

  • Nadzieja Batki

    One system was scrapped, another more onerous system will be put in place.

  • Alan

    Congratulations to Ms Hernandez for standing up for rights and freedoms. It would seem the students have far more brains than administrators that would implement this type of NSA style spying.

  • chrisnj

    For those who think that nullification is a kooky and ineffective idea, Ms Hernandez just did it. Ghandi and his followers nullified the entire British empire, by just saying ‘no’, en masse.

    Not that RFID tagging citizens is an idea that will go away. It will become part of an Obamacare-mandated bio-records chip implanted into your neck at birth, and will be considered just one of those things you do for your kid, like getting their Socialist Security Number. “Eternal vigilance” is for real, man.

  • red neck

    Put a chip in me over my dead body and yours !!!!

  • Quester55

    That figures, Chipping, for any reason, is wrong, Yet some of us have been warning the rest of you, that this day was coming & your response was to call us, “Filthy names, Question our Inelegance, & Curse our Faith in the One True Creator, Jesus”!!Those F.E.M.A. stock Pens will Soon be Filled with Those of us that Refuse to be CHIPPED!!