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RFID to track students in Spring, Texas...
November 17, 2004 8:44 AM   Subscribe

RFID to track students in Spring, Texas... the information is fed automatically by wireless phone to the police and school administrators. That's right: constant and continual monitoring of all the schoolkids in the district by the local police department.
posted by Irontom (74 comments total)

 
Wow... I went to Bammel Elementary for three years, K - 2nd grade. I don't think my parent's would have minded this much, since I was known for walking out of the school and heading home when I felt like it. Precocious I guess.
posted by FullFrontalNerdity at 8:51 AM on November 17, 2004


Well, I live in Spring ISD and while it's nice to think that the schools will know where our kids are, I can't help wonder what I would have thought of this idea when I was at school.
Actually, I know damm well what I would have thought.
This is going to be a hard sell to our teenagers...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:00 AM on November 17, 2004


links that don't need registration.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:00 AM on November 17, 2004


what's the punishment for using a blob of gum to fasten your rfid badge to the underside of an out-of state car you see parked outside school?
posted by andrew cooke at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2004


obligatory bugmenot link for those that dont know how to dodge the NYTime's retarded registration mechanism (i thought we were beyond this, or I would have included it before)
posted by Irontom at 9:09 AM on November 17, 2004


Can't they just use those invisible fence collars that dogs have?
posted by Stan Chin at 9:11 AM on November 17, 2004


what's the punishment for using a blob of gum to fasten your rfid badge to the underside of an out-of state car you see parked outside school?

Good point, although, there's always the implanted pet ID example to correct that.

Which would be a hard sell for most nearly everyone, else it would be coming soon enough for us all. You know--to fight terror.
posted by y2karl at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2004


I find it hard to believe that not a single parent in the entire school district had any objections.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2004


so, thatwhichfalls, I guess they really can't trust anyone over 30 ...
posted by Irontom at 9:16 AM on November 17, 2004


really? being a parent seems - in my experience of others - to change people from normal rational beings into pathological obsessives that will sacrifice anything if there's the slightest hint that it will be better for their kid. it seems to be the easiest sell in the book (way more effective than, for example "national security", and that's already proved its worth).
posted by andrew cooke at 9:16 AM on November 17, 2004


(oh, my reply was to The Card Cheat)
posted by andrew cooke at 9:17 AM on November 17, 2004


This quote basically sums up the parents' view:

"I'm sure we're being overprotective, but you hear about all this violence," said Elisa Temple-Harvey, 34, the parent of a fourth grader. "I'm not saying this will curtail it, or stop it, but at least I know she made it to campus."
posted by botono9 at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2004


I was at an educational technology trade fair recently, and there were several systems being marketed there that were, essentially, wireless PDAs linked to a central school database. The idea was that teachers could at any point look up a kid and see how they were doing in class, their discipline history, medical needs, etc. I can see a 'where are they' function fitting right in with that.

Re: going out of state - the system tracks the badges, not the kids - and presumably it does so when they get on/off buses, with the RFID reader being in/around the doorway. The kids are tracked when they enter/exit the bus system at predefined nodes. Thus andrew cooke's scenario might not work, unless the car drove through a bus doorway. But perhaps there would be ways for a kid to carry two badges off of the bus at once and fool the system. They probably couldn't do it at the exact same time, as the time would be logged, but it's do-able. Kids are smart; and if they carry it off, they have the perfect alibi.
posted by carter at 9:23 AM on November 17, 2004


Yes, on RTFA they have an ID card on a lanyard they have to swipe against a reader by the door. Should be easy to do two, with a couple of seconds inbetween ...
posted by carter at 9:26 AM on November 17, 2004


When will the parents just accept that they lost the County Parent-Child Hide-and-Seek Championship and just move on?

I'd be more worried about who has the rights to track where these kids go. Imagine the companies that would be interested in knowing a school district's after school habbits. "A lot of them get off the bus at Elm and Poplar. Get a Coke machine there, quick!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:29 AM on November 17, 2004


In other words, this doesn't track students at all. It tracks plastic cards that students are told to carry. That seems to open up as many problems as it allegedly alleviates.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:30 AM on November 17, 2004


being a parent seems - in my experience of others - to change people from normal rational beings into pathological obsessives that will sacrifice anything if there's the slightest hint that it will be better for their kid.

Touche. Last year here in Toronto, there was a very high-profile, and tragic, case of child abduction. I was at a dinner party in the midst of all that and got into a conversation with a parent in which I tried to make the argument that, statistically, child abductions by complete strangers are very rare and that the media hysteria around cases like these makes everyone think the danger is far greater than it is, etc..

Well, she wasn't having any of that. "You can't possibly understand if you don't have kids!" was her reply. And fair enough, it's quite possible that, if and when I have kids, I'll feel differently...but I'd like to think that my desire to let my kid have a regular childhood would trump any exaggerated fears I might have about letting him/her roam free when s/he was out playing. Like I did when I was a kid.

Parents out there, any thoughts?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:31 AM on November 17, 2004


Its like WAL*Mart, but kids are the inventory!
posted by rough ashlar at 9:37 AM on November 17, 2004


Plus, all money spent on expensive RFID cards, readers and hype is money not spent on books, gym equipment and staff. Libraries are dealing with the RFID debate fullscale lately [it's actually not as awful an idea to attach RFID devices to library books, though opens up all sorts of different privacy issues that are being dealt with poorly if at all] and vendors are pushing very very hard for it. In my mind -- and I am a total freak about this stuff, I don't speak for all librarians -- it's just one more way to funnel public tax dollars into private sector pockets and then complain about the underfundedness of schools/libraries. It's this decade's "we need a new baseball stadium" issue.
posted by jessamyn at 9:39 AM on November 17, 2004


I have a daughter, and the thought of her being abducted is utterly terrifying to me. So is the thought of her privacy being sold out to the myth of safety.

That said, as soon as she notices boys I'm locking her in the basement.
posted by fullerine at 9:43 AM on November 17, 2004


This doesn't track anything, all it does is tell you where someone with the badge got off the bus. It's just like barcoding a kid and having the checkout on the bus. No GPS, no tracking. If you don't get on the bus the system will know but it won't have any idea where you are. Sounds completely useless.
posted by zeoslap at 9:45 AM on November 17, 2004


it's just another ruse to ban Texas cross dressing (oh, what one complaint can do).

i think you're right in general, andrewcooke (in that many parents throw dearly held beliefs out the window if it might even marginally help their kids), but i'm not as cynical to assume it affects *all* parents. (it's one reason why i think using the nuclear family as a societal building block is a massive failure, but that's another story ...)

on preview: yes, it's a big fat waste of time and resources, and with the school budget problems ... oh wait. we're talking about the suburbs. they got school cash to burn. go for it, morons. sure enough, somebody *will* plant one of these on an outbound bus, and hilarity will ensue.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:46 AM on November 17, 2004


...certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of countermeasures disproportionate to their attendant problems.
posted by putzface_dickman at 9:47 AM on November 17, 2004


"We've been fortunate; we haven't had a kidnapping," Mr. Weisinger said. "But if it works one time finding a student who has been kidnapped, then the system has paid for itself."

unassailable logic.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:49 AM on November 17, 2004


I find it hard to believe that not a single parent in the entire school district had any objections.
The Card Cheat


I didn't object, because I didn't know - that's my fault I guess, but this plan was probably pushed through during the third hour of some meeting that was only mentioned in tiny type on the last page of a newsletter...
You know, now I think about it I'm OK with this technology being used solely in school grounds. It's really just an extension on the ID cards the kids already have to carry. It's just I can see it being steadily extended over time, simply because it would be so easy to do so.
RFID tags can be remotely read can't they? I can imagine this being used to track kids in shopping malls - you wouldn't need to have data on each individual - just knowing which stores kids frequent the most might be saleable information (and Spring ISD will do anything if an easy dollar is on offer).

so, thatwhichfalls, I guess they really can't trust anyone over 30 ...
Irontom


Absolutely correct. I remind of our kids of this on a regular basis. Sadly I don't think they trust me enough to believe what I tell them ...

being a parent seems - in my experience of others - to change people from normal rational beings into pathological obsessives that will sacrifice anything if there's the slightest hint that it will be better for their kid
andrew cooke


Yes, it does. That's why I was trying to modify my initial reaction (Great! Track them! Paint them day-glo orange! Monitor them from fucking orbit if neccessary!) by reflecting on what my reaction would have been when a teenager.

I'm still not sure what to make of it. It's probably a thin end of the wedge thing isn't it?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:51 AM on November 17, 2004


How soon until RFID turns into a LoJack for Kids? I can see both sides of the arguments for and against this but in reality, and because I'm a new father, I would very seriously consider implanting a chip in my son.

With the condition that he is free to remove it once he turns 18.

The badges are too easy to defeat as many have already noted.

And then are the incredibly invasive privacy concerns. I'm very happy that my parents couldn't "track" me via a badge or chip while I was growing up. I would have never been allowed to leave the house.
posted by fenriq at 9:52 AM on November 17, 2004


Anyone who tolerates this gets what they deserve and deserves what they get.

Take it off, throw it away, gnaw it out of your flesh if you have to.
posted by rushmc at 9:57 AM on November 17, 2004


If you don't get on the bus the system will know but it won't have any idea where you are. Sounds completely useless.

I generally agree. For instance, for the system to work they will have to enforce the carrying of passes. These are kids who are thinking about a million and one other things besides school, who forget things all the time, e.g. to bring books and pencils to class. How the school will enforce a system on them to make sure they all carry their badges all the time and do not lose them is beyond me. I'm a grown-up and have a proper job (for now), but I leave my RFID badge at home at least 50% of the time.

Note that all kids *would* have to carry badges at all times, in order to avoid a flood of false negatives: you can tell that Duane's badge did not get on the bus - but how do you know if this was because Duane did not get on the bus, or that he did, but that he forget his badge? Unless you can figure this out, the system is greatly reduced in value.
posted by carter at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2004


I've got kids and I think this is an incredibly bad idea. All it does is give a false sense of security to simple minded parents and teaches kids that the world is big and evil and they can't be trusted.

It's amazing what some parents will do to their kids that they'd never do to themselves.
posted by lasm at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2004


But if it works one time finding a student who has been kidnapped

Apparently only if the kidnapper decides to take the bus.
posted by ODiV at 10:06 AM on November 17, 2004


I have a young son and want him to experience the world. To stifle his life, monitor him to death, and cut off his basic freedoms to stave off the infinitessimal risk of abduction is sick.

I've never gotten anywhere with this argument. When I tolkd a (childless) friend of mine that the risk of abduction was minuscule, she said: "That wouldn't be any comfort if it happened to you." You could go insane trying to argue that one down.

Schools are a lot like prisons already. No point pretending they aren't.
posted by argybarg at 10:08 AM on November 17, 2004


because I'm a new father, I would very seriously consider implanting a chip in my son.

See, that's a scary attitude to me. Do you consider your son your property? Who says that should be your choice? The potential for misuse of this sort of technology is flabbergasting.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:10 AM on November 17, 2004


As far as never doing it to themselves that's not really true. Very common for folks in the workplace to use a card to enter the building where they work. This is no different, and in that respect no big deal. The issue I have with it is that it's being sold as helping to prevent kidnappings, it does nothing of the sort as other than the checkpoints setup, i.e the bus. You have no idea where the card is. Stupid. Rollcall would be just as effective.
posted by zeoslap at 10:11 AM on November 17, 2004


don't take chances with your kids - use the Club (tm).
posted by Krrrlson at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2004


Anyone else find it odd that in an article in which school administrators and parents are justifying the use of this technology to "protect" their kids from strangers, so much personal information (physical descriptions, bus routes) about some of the student-interviewees is published?
Doh.
I have relatives in that area. They voted for Bush, so I'm *assuming* they have not problem with BigBrother offering them this (false?) sense of security.
Me, I'm more concerned about their boys being drafted several years from now, when the endless war on terror their President has launched has escalated even further.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2004


I happen to know that if you shoot every child, there will be no further kidnappings, guaranteed. It is an utterly failproof system and is, indeed, the only system that is absolutely failproof.

Ergo, let's think of the children: we must kill them to save them!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:15 AM on November 17, 2004


In regards to these particular cards, what would happen to one if a kid stood or sat in a strong magnetic field ?
posted by y2karl at 10:17 AM on November 17, 2004


"to change people from normal rational beings into pathological obsessives"

Only if they let themselves become that - I've got kids, and I can honestly say that the thought of my child being abducted doesnt enter my mind. A couple of years ago, I did some research on child abuction numbers (as a result of an argument I had with my wife on this subject). I don't have the links here, but I do remember the results. It boils down to this: all things being equal, there is a 1 in 77 chance that a given child will be kidnapped by someone (s)he's related to, and a 1 in 13, 000+ chance that the same event will occur with a stranger.

So, I dont worry about my kids being abducted. I also dont worry about them being struck by lightning, or being swarmed by insane chipmunks or any of the various esoteric ways they could meet their untimely ends.

I worry about things like traffic safety, making sure they understand how dangerous electrical outlets can be, why it's important to not run with scissors, etc.

thatwhichfalls - no, it isn't. The thin end of the wedge was ID cards that all the kids are required to carry. This is the middle portion of the wedge. It's the wide end that I fear. People like you and fenriq who (at least initially) are perfectly willing to say "great!" while admitting you would have thought it was a horrible idea to have done to you.

argybarg - my response to people like that is a resounding "duh - NOTHING is any comfort to families that experience this horror!"
posted by Irontom at 10:17 AM on November 17, 2004


because I'm a new father, I would very seriously consider implanting a chip in my son.

I'm a new father, too, and I politely request that you justify your views as an individual and not some subejct of generic new-fatherness.

Parents have a bad habit of giving all their views false weight through appeals to their parenthood. It pissed me off when I was single, and it pisses me off now.
posted by argybarg at 10:18 AM on November 17, 2004


It'll be really fun when Texas decides to put a monitoring tag on my fetus.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:19 AM on November 17, 2004


to be honest, I think that the large chunk of the problem is that people see the acronym RFID and immediately have a knee-jerk reaction. From my experience visiting schools, schools are already controlled environments in which the movements of students and visitors are carefully tracked. The primary difference between this end of the last 20 years of school practice is that the process of identifying who's cutting class at any point in time is being done by automated systems rather than Eagle-eyed teachers and administrators. There's not much difference between swiping your card at the door, or sitting in assigned seats for home room.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:27 AM on November 17, 2004


Card Cheat and argybarg, I wasn't pretending to speak for all new fathers, sorry if that was implied.

I only mean that I want to do everything I can to make the world as safe as I can for my son. I have a chip implanted in my dog in case she gets lost or stolen.

I don't consider my son my property, I consider him my most important responsibility.

To be clear, I'm not talking about monitoring him, I'm talking about being able to find him if someone runs off with him. I'm also talking about his medical records being accessible at all times in that little chip.

If it seems like I'm overly anxious about him, then I am.
posted by fenriq at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2004


This is'nt a safety measure. It's a defense against litigation. The i.d. badges don't actually track locations, but show when and where a student got off a bus. The school district can now show that they fulfilled their legal obligations and that any safety issues that arise are the fault of the parents. If a student using this RFID system were abducted, there is nothing the system can do to help locate the child. It only serves as a legal defense to avoid lawsuites. The district probably gets some kind a insurance break for this.

This is not for the children,
WU TANG IS FOR THE CHILDREN!
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:41 AM on November 17, 2004


What I don't understand is why Mr. Weisinger believes that something which only makes note of whether or not a student has gotten on/off a bus (and where) or walked into/out of the school is going to help track down a kidnapped student. It seems he's confused about what these overly expensive and unnecessary gadgets can do. If a kid is nabbed after he gets off the bus, they are still only going to know where that kid got off the bus ... and it's probably going to be the same stop they have always gotten off at. By the time anyone notices the kid is missing (doesn't make it home), the kidnapper will still be in a car and far away from any RFID readers. That really applies in any case (going to a friend's house, deciding to go to a mall, etc.). They are just going to know the general area the kid got off the bus. What are they going to do, call out SWAT teams to do house-by-house/store-by-store searches for them?

When I was in elementary school, I had to ride the bus for a while, and you want to know how my parents knew I had gotten on the bus to school and were aware that I was off the bus and on my way home in the afternoon? One of them, or some other trusted adult, took the time to go to the bus stop to see me off/pick me up. Worked wonderfully.

What an incredibly stupid and useless waste of money. No wonder the schools here suck as badly as they do.
posted by Orb at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2004


On a bit more reflection, there seems to be this big problem in that everybody seems to be focusing on technology, without even looking at the issue of process. In this case, it is pretty much obvious that RFID tags are a trivial issue in regards to the rights of students. In most of the schools that I've visited, students don't have the right to walk around between classrooms or leave the building without checking out. Changing the technology used to control students from a security desk at the door, to an RFID scanner is not going to do squat about the underlying process.

This holds true with just about every other debate regarding technology. The biggest problem with Frankenfoods comes not from the genetically modified crops themselves, but with the fact that these crops are produced as part of the process that involves massive use of insecticidal and defoliant chemicals. The biggest problem with the Internet is that the really revolutionary paradigms for structuring and communicating information have never been adopted.

Certainly, I don't think that this is a good idea. However the reasons why I don't think that this is a good idea have nothing to do with the choice of RFID tags to enable an antique process.

fenriq: Hrm, as someone who has had a problem with being misdiagnosed by medical professionals, I agree that RFID tags can serve a valuable purpose. On the other hand, I don't think that routine chiping really would do much to make most people safer.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:46 AM on November 17, 2004


I'm a father of just over eight weeks now, and I'm still all-idiot-grinning and in awe of the little guy...

That said, however, I'd be in no way in favour of this sort of technology being introduced in his school (when he begins attending, of course), and I'm completely freaked out by parents who even consider the idea of an implanted tracker...Hell, I find it weird that people won't let their children walk two blocks to their public school without an escort. When is your child supposed to learn the life skills of self-reliance, decision-making, careful observation, etc. if we completely protect them every moment of their lives?

I'm reminded of a story a friend told me two years ago when the "Double Cohort" entered university in Ontario*. An administrator at The University of Guelph got a phone call from a concerned mother whose son was entering school that autumn, and he would be living in residence. She wanted to know if it would be okay if she brought her own mattress and put it down on the floor of his room, so she could sleep there "for a few weeks" to help him with his "transition" to University Life...
Fortunately, according to the tale, the administrator just laughed and told her, "NO!"
The same administrator also reported that he fielded daily questions from concerned parents wondering when the university was going to mail them their children's grades...


*(Ontario discontinued Grade 13, and re-jigged the high school curriculum for a four-year program, resulting in a year when twice as many students were heading to University at the same time)
posted by Al_Truist at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2004


Al_Truist: I was recently a Resident Assistant at a public university in Ohio, and one year we had a parent ask our hall director on move-in day if she could get a report of the times her daughter came and left the dorm.

The answer was no.
posted by crawl at 11:05 AM on November 17, 2004


She wanted to know if it would be okay if she brought her own mattress and put it down on the floor of his room, so she could sleep there "for a few weeks" to help him with his "transition" to University Life...

Sweet Jesus, the poor bastard. I knew a guy in university with a mother like that...he wound up marrying an unpleasant, overbearing woman who even kind of looked like his mom.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:06 AM on November 17, 2004


Send in the Combine.
posted by SiW at 11:09 AM on November 17, 2004


Felipe, wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt with a Spiderman logo and blue high-top tennis shoes also with a Spiderman logo, wore his yellow ID badge on a string around his neck.
A see a potential lawsuit here.

but you hear about all this violence," what?
The sad part here is the duty of adult supervision will be less; no need for head count, let the computer track the child.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:14 AM on November 17, 2004


All it does is give a false sense of security to simple minded parents and teaches kids that the world is big and evil and they can't be trusted.

That sums it all up right there.

(Of course, the world is big and evil and can't be trusted, but we're all supposed to pretend that that isn't the case...)
posted by rushmc at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2004


This isn't a safety measure. It's a defense against litigation.

Bingo. elwoodwiles has it. This is about creating a verifiable paper trail. "You're son was delivered to the proper place at the proper time, ma'am. We're not responsible for the abduction/accident/running away/convenience store robbery." I love that they've sold it to the parents as an anti-kidnapping measure, though. People are such fucking rubes.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2004


You just need the right answer for these parents, The Card Cheat.

"So, if you feel so strongly that this technology is such a lifesaver for your child, perhaps you could relate to me one of the many times you were abducted as a school child?"

A: "Crime is so much worse now!"

Then you pull out the newspaper with the crime graph that shows it was twice as bad back then.

Of course, this might ruin the conversation. Depends on how serious you are.

Another good one is "More children die of slips and falls daily than are abducted. Hockey helmets are proven to save lives for children slipping and falling. Perhaps your child should wear one?"

I guess I'm just mean.
posted by shepd at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2004


I think that five fresh fish was watching "Law & Order: SVU" last night.... So what if you drop your RFID on the bus, or leave it at the bus stop, or, or, or. The possibilities are endless.

Did anyone else wonder if the injection of "where no child has ever been kidnapped" was done as a dig?
posted by djspicerack at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2004


I have to agree with the people that say no big deal, I had to wear an ID badge all the time at school, no one cares. The world is a big place that is untrustworthy. It's just RFID, it's not implanted GPS. It only "tracks" you (tracks is really an inappropriate word for this) when you swipe it over the scanner than usually emits a nice BEEP telling you it worked. It's not like they know where you are all the time.

This tracks you as much as clocking in to work tracks you.
posted by rhyax at 11:54 AM on November 17, 2004


I went to college at age 16.

My parents had the RA "keep an eye on me" and regularly called my profs to see if I was attending classes - even called my roommate to see if I'd had any boys over and if the room was a mess.

So, of course, I tried to make myself as scarce as possible, kept my room a disaster area (and developed the slobby habits I still have today!) and skipped over 2/3 of my classes (but maintained a 3.4 GPA - I was rebellious, not dumb).

If I were a kid at this school, I'd be trading off my ID as quickly as possible with my friends, just to freak everyone out, and I'd do it as often as possible. Maybe once they'd spent a lot of unnecessary police time and money looking for us, they'd stop this crap.
posted by u.n. owen at 11:57 AM on November 17, 2004


Maybe these administrators misunderstood what is meant by "No Child Left Behind."
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:01 PM on November 17, 2004


I bet this will be more advanced in a few years.
posted by agregoli at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2004


It's not really the tracking of the students that I find to be a bad thing (notwithstanding any further developments in how far this tracking goes). We were tracked as we moved to and from school and at school ... by teachers, hall monitors, and bus drivers (and parents who bothered to care enough about it). No one ever got lost or kidnapped. It's the fact that Texas teachers make an average of only $30k a year and many of them have to buy classroom supplies out of their own pockets because the schools can't or won't do it ... because they are too busy building mega-stadiums and installing useless technologies such as this one ... or giving in to whining parents who think you can catch "the gay" by wearing clothes made for the opposite sex. Not to mention, due to our school financing program (or lack thereof), less and less money is already being spent teaching our kids anything, unless it's being spent for new textbooks that teach abstinence only sex-ed.

I have got to get out of Texas as soon as possible. I can't take it anymore.
posted by Orb at 12:23 PM on November 17, 2004


In the instance of strong magnetic influence, my understanding is that the child will develop superpowers enabling them to manipulate ferrous metals including (but not limited to) iron and lead. This gathering group of super-children will one day rise to leadership and take over the reigns of power leading us into a grand new age of discovery and adventure.

I, for one, salute our future ferro-manipulative teenage overlords.
posted by longbaugh at 12:42 PM on November 17, 2004


Orb, thanks, you made the best argument against this idea. Why spend money on tracking kids badly when that money could and should be spent on books?
posted by fenriq at 1:02 PM on November 17, 2004


By the way, isn't abstinence-only sex-ed a paradox?
posted by fenriq at 1:04 PM on November 17, 2004


Crawl: I'm glad to have first-person evidence that Ontarians don't have the "over-protective parent" market cornered.

elwoodwiles: This is'nt a safety measure. It's a defense against litigation.
Bingo! I wish I'd seen that angle. Please go to the head of the class...
posted by Al_Truist at 1:50 PM on November 17, 2004


If this came with a communicator I'd be all for it ... "Computer ... Locate Wesley Crusher"

Seriously though, what's the problem with this?
It's just automated attendance.
One less thing the teacher has to worry about.
posted by Dillenger69 at 2:45 PM on November 17, 2004


There are so many things wrong with this, I don't even know where to start. People have already noted that the system fails to accomplish its stated goals (and really, can't possibly accomplish them, as designed); people have already noted that it provides no real security; people have already noted that the money spent on this would be better spent on actual education, or maybe paying people to actually give a shit about the kids, instead of paying some flunky with a dubious history to become aware of all their comings and goings.

So I'll start with the first thing that I thought of when I read the FPP: "Trainer-surveillance."

It's like getting them used to being watched -- makign them accept it. Making sure that the only world that kids ever know is one where surveillance is near total. Sure, that won't be true everywhere -- e.g., places where the economic conditions are poor, they won't be able to afford them. But then, this will have the effect of creating a class of people who are pre-conditioned to accepting total surveillance, and so are more fitted to a place in the future job market. The underclass of the future will be people (in part) who are not preconditioned to accepting a state of continual surveillance and effective control.

The next thing I thought about was that if you continually watch, surveill and coddle kids, they never learn how to handle things on their own. Again, from the POV of a "nanny state" (like the one the Bushites seem bound and determined to build), this is a good thing: It keeps people dependent on external actors (like a State or a Media Company) to tell them what to do.
posted by lodurr at 2:48 PM on November 17, 2004


One less thing the teacher has to worry about.
Except it's totally useless for attendence. A student can just give his card to a buddy while he skips, just like we used to do with the roll they pass around for you to sign.

What a waste of money. And to think of how pissed I was when they made us carry ID cards with our pictures on them. I would have quit high school over this. I should have quit it over that.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:51 PM on November 17, 2004


lodurr: I agree about trainer surveillance. Look how many people in this thread said "well, they're already being watched anyway with other stuff."

As for your other statement, that kids won't be able to learn to make choices for themselves, I agree wholeheartedly. As an opinion writer/editor for a newspaper, I recently wrote an editorial on exactly this topic. It's good to give kids some space to make mistakes early on, in the relatively controlled environment of a school - if they get to the adult world before getting a chance to make decisions for themselves, their initial crappy decisions could affect their entire lives far more negatively than a stupid mistake in middle school or high school. In the adult world, actions have more far-reaching consequences. if we don't teach kids to deal with it now, they'll have to deal with it later when the punishments are more severe and permanent.
posted by u.n. owen at 3:27 PM on November 17, 2004


a "nanny state" (like the one the Bushites seem bound and determined to build)

Ironic, isn't it? (I know, not really, but from the Republican POV it's supposed to be...)
posted by rushmc at 6:03 PM on November 17, 2004


I, for one, welcome our all seeing & knowing Texan overlords.
posted by wfrgms at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2004


The Stasi would have loved this.
posted by homunculus at 6:57 PM on November 17, 2004


Irontom, unless you have statistics on these chipmunk swarmings, I'll kindly ask you to refrain from slander.

That said, as soon as she notices boys I'm locking her in the basement.

*uncomfortable chuckle*

Advantage: elwood. He nailed it.
posted by squirrel at 8:30 PM on November 17, 2004


Is this RFID plan faith based ?

And - if it is - what does that say about God ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:00 PM on November 17, 2004


He sees all.

So put some pants on, for God's sake.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 PM on November 17, 2004


:::probes frantically beneath his flesh trying to dig out his godchip:::
posted by rushmc at 12:40 AM on November 18, 2004


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