Students Refusing Tracking ID Cards Unable to Vote for Homecoming?

Posting on behalf of Alex K:

http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/students-refusing-tracking-id-cards-unable-vote-homecoming
The article I found brought up a very interesting situation in a school in Texas that has microchips embedded in student’s school ID’s so they can track the students. This situation seems like an abuse of technology. Although I understand the point that the school wants to track student’s to make sure they aren’t ditching school and just going to the mall but this seems like a gross breach of civil liberties. Also according to the article if the student’s don’t wear the ID’s then they won’t be able to vote for homecoming king and queen. I just think a school tracking a student just isn’t ethical and it could have consequences on these kids mental states throughout their lives, because they may feel like they are always being watched. Technology is great but this situation just seems like an abuse of technology.

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16 thoughts on “Students Refusing Tracking ID Cards Unable to Vote for Homecoming?

  1. Although I agree that this is a breach of the students’ civil liberties, I feel that the consequence is rather trivial. At my high school they had policies were if students drove to school or participated in any sports program they would be placed on the list for random drug screenings. I feel that this policy is far more invasive in part because it is of a more serious nature. What is the likelihood that someone who would not want to be tracked by the school would want an active role in deciding the school’s prom court? I feel that this is relatively unlikely. However in the case of my high school’s policy, there was a large population that were negatively affected, some by being selected for a drug screen directly and many for fear of being selected. Whereas my high school marginalizes and punishes those who drive, play sports, and do drugs with academic and criminal penalties, the school in Texas marginalizes those who do not wish to be tracked only by depriving them of a vote in an unimportant election. The students here are faced with the problem of balancing privacy with popularity without any real penalty. It will be interesting to see if schools continue to develop stricter policies on privacy and provide an even tougher decision for high school students to make.

  2. I do not think schools should have tracking systems for students. There is a huge concern about privacy with a program like this. Students are only wearing these so the school knows they are there. It seems a little hard to believe that there is a big enough attendance issue that the school would need to track students. Also, what happens to the device when the students are not at school? Are they turned off, or does it allow tracking outside of school? A much more sensible approach would be a check-in program rather than a tracking device. It still ensures students come to class, but there is no sense of being monitored outside of school, or at all really. I’m all for making sure students are attending class, however, this seems to be going about the issue in the wrong way.

  3. This seems like a very easy way to get kids used to the idea of a universal identification system. I’m not sure what our current laws look like regarding the use of such a system, but the ability to be uniquely identified disproportionately affects citizens. It will be interesting to see where we go as a society from here and if the “benefits” of such a system will outweigh the privacy costs.

  4. This is an interesting use of the panopticon. It reminds me of the example in class when you talked about seeing how many times your students actually read the chapters. Just giving these kids the thought that someone could be watching them as they are doing something wrong should help attendance dramatically. I’m not so sure that i believe it is ethical to force these kids to wear these id’s, but by taking something potentially important away from these students is a great way to give the kids an option.

  5. I see why the school is doing it, but I do not think it is right. This is supposed to be high school where kids learn to be responsible and make better decisions. This isn’t elementary where kids need to be supervised at all times (not that elementary kids need to be tracked in such a way either). I think this is just a strong lack of trust and does not help a student become more responsible by using this technique. This is just another way for teachers to invade the privacy of young adults. I feel that I would develop a problem of myself always being watched even when I am not at school. I feel like students could develop some mental problems from this.

  6. I was a teachers aide for 2 classes my senior year and I would leave during those periods more often than I would stay so I can see where the need for something like this would come from. Also, since I was in high school I have heard of numerous bomb threats and other mischief which is expensive and causes disruption. The one kid sent a bomb threat via a anonymous e-mail while logged into the school system and still got away with it. These days I think the schools have a lot going on and this adds a sense of safety for some. I think as long as the parents are ok with it there should be no problem. We were required to carry school ID on us at all times and the schools should know where all the students are when they are on grounds.

  7. Sure, this is a gross breach of student’s privacy, but what about the potential benefits? I don’t see the school being able to cause any harm to rule-abiding students who attend classes they are supposed to. There will always be the handful of kids who try to ditch or bend the rules and I doubt these microchips will stop them. A potential scenario I can see this being useful is in the unlikely (but not unheard of) event of a school shooting. We’ve seen bomb-threats and mass shootings in schools recently and should something like this occur, the faculty and police will be able to locate every student in the building. If there is a group of students taking cover in a dark classroom, the police will know immediately if they are safe/unsafe without having to enter the building and put more people in harms way. I understand scenarios like these are unlikely, but if these tagged ID’s save even one life, isn’t it worth it? I think so.

  8. In any case, these kids are now in high school, I feel that at this point in time they are either going to value their education and stay in school or they are going to blow it off. No matter what length of tracking you see fit, it does not mean that the kids will pay attention or even care what is going in their classrooms. Tracking your students is unnecessary, you can discipline them, put them in detention, or whatever you see fit, but it shouldn’t affect the outcome of attendance within schools. The punishment of not being able to vote for the homecoming court is also a terrible idea. The kids who refuse to wear the ID tracker and continually skip class and attend to behaviors that are against school policy are not going to care if they don’t get a chance to vote for homecoming. The plan is poorly executed and the fact that they would even think to track the students seems like a high breach of privacy. If the kids are not responsible enough to stay in school and continue the right track, forcing them to wear a tracking device is not going to promote any kind of better behavior.

  9. I can see some major pitfalls with this technology in very extreme circumstances. In the case that someone hacks into this tracking system, they can locate the kids within the school with bad/malicious intentions. One question that needs to be addressed is if they can only track students that are currently in the school? If not, what are the limits? This is reminds me of the article with tracking women via RFID technology in Saudi Arabia. If someone can manage to access the tracking system, not only can they target the kids inside the school, but they can target them outside the school. While I see this system is trying to be implemented with the best intentions, it seems to me like there are a lot of security and privacy risks that can potentially outweigh the benefits.

  10. I think tracking ID cards can be very helpful for the students and school staff but this article shows how it can also be an invasion of privacy. For example, for attendance purposes the tracking device would be very helpful not only for teachers to grade the student’s performance but also for the students to keep track of their records in case a final grade is being disputed. Although it brings benefits, the device creates major ethical problems at least in this article. I don’t believe the school should keep record of who the students are voting for their homecoming queen and king simply because there’s nothing useful for the school if that happened, what would these records do for them? What if their system was hacked? a popularity war would start. Whether it’s right or wrong my opinion about high school students won’t change. High school students will always find a way to beat the system, if they don’t beat the system, they create more problems to the school.

  11. I understand from the school’s standpoint that this is a beneficial tool for helping improve the behavior of a student. Their are many benefits from tracking students during school hours on school property. From a legal standpoint the school is looking out for its liabilities. This technology makes the student more accountable while on school property. They shouldn’t have to use voting as a incentive for students to use the ID. Instead it should be required or a policy of being a student at that school. Students give a up a level of privacy while on school property during school hours.

  12. I can see where the school is coming from in this situation. They have some pretty solid reasons to back up this tracking device. From the school’s standpoint, students are under their supervision during school hours, so they should do whatever they can to keep track of where the students are throughout the day and make sure they are safe. As mentioned above, it can be a serious privacy issue, especially if someone were to hack into the system. After school hours these tracking devices should not be active, or students should be required to leave them at school. In regards to the students, yes it is a slight inconvenience to wear the ID around their neck throughout the day, but it doesn’t hinder their performance in any way. Because of this, they should have no problems following the school’s rules. I don’t know if i necessarily find witholding homecoming voting from them if they do not do participate appropriate, but sometimes at that age you have to do something like this to get results. Over time it will not be that big of a deal and the students will wear them without any issue. It just takes time to get over that initial hump of starting a new program.

  13. The state has a special interests in children and minors. Children overall have less privacy in school when compared to college age students in universities. Children are essentially controlled through parents/school systems and other sources. It makes sense that schools would initiate such a practice to further their ability to watch over the children they are charged in protecting. While that juvenile is under the care of the school systems, they have my complete support to initiate practices that would help keep them safe. I’m not saying they should start strip searching every juvenile that walks through the door for weapons, but new ID cards are more than acceptable.

  14. I have mixed emotions about this article. I do not see too much of a problem with the school tracking the students while they are at school to make sure they are not skipping class for no reason. However, I do not fully agree with this thing being worn at all times. If the students are at home, whatever they are doing and wherever they decide to go, is totally their own prerogative. To track their every move outside of school seems very unethical and seems to be a large breach of privacy. Tracking the students while they are at school could definitely increase attendance and effort applied in classes.

  15. This article seems a little disturbing. The first point being that it is legal for students to be tracked by their school, and the second point is that they are punished if they do not wish to be tracked. I feel like if they want the device on the kids, that it should not leave the school building because that is the school’s “jurisdiction”. The fact that they are taking away the kids homecoming voting is ridiculous. It just seems like the school is desperate to track the kids.

  16. This is a pretty hilarious article. I can’t really remember if I thought homecoming during high school was a big deal, but really, the choice in this matter is simple. High school doesn’t really matter as much as say, someones privacy, so while they should be upset that they can’t vote for homecoming, they should be glad that more serious actions aren’t being taken to ensure that they have to wear the tracking devices. How are schools even allowed to do this? It kind of reminds me of the beginning of Half-Life 2, “Pick up that trash citizen.” Ridiculous.

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