Student expelled for refusing to wear RFID tracking chip badge

Student expelled for refusing to wear RFID tracking chip badge

Summary: Taking a stand against location tracking, one student found herself expelled.

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After a student protested a pilot RFID tracking system in San Antonio, lawyers are now moving to stop expulsion.

John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez was expelled from her high school after protesting against a new pilot program which tracks the precise location of all attending 4,200 students at Anson Jones Middle School and John Jay High School, according to Infowars.

Under the "Smart ID" program, ID badges have been issued with a tracking chip, which students must wear when attending school. The school badges, worn like a necklace, contain a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and links to their social security number. This allows the school to track the student's location after leaving campus and for as long as the badge is on the student's person.

The scheme is now in full swing and all students must wear it, according to a letter sent by the school district to the student's parents and made public. The notice says:

"This "smart" ID card will transmit location information of students to electronic readers which are installed throughout the campus. This is so that we always know where the students are in the building.

After all, parents, you expect school staff to always know where your children are during the school day."

However, Hernandez continually refused to wear the ID badge -- which led to the school's administration offering a deal. She would be allowed to comply by wearing a badge that had the chip removed.

If the student accepted these terms, then her location would be untraceable, although the badge's barcode would still remain as an identifier. However, this would also still seem like she was complying with the project simply by wearing the badge, and so Hernandez refused. The result? Expulsion.

Civil liberties lawyers at the Rutherford Institute have told Infowars that in retaliation to the expulsion order, they are going to file a temporary restraining order petition to prevent the school from forcing Hernandez to attend another school.

"What we're teaching kids is that they live in a total surveillance state and if they do not comply, they will be punished," John Whitehead, Rutherford founder said. "There has to be a point at which schools have to show valid reasons why they're doing this."

Schools are often within their rights to expel students who refuse to conform to dress codes, which makes the student's reasons for not adhering to a non-chipped badge less effective. However, the student -- backed by her parents -- refused to wear the RFID-chipped accessory to due to a "violation of religious beliefs" and privacy infringement, which is something other parents and students are beginning to take a stand for.

Some students are objecting to the chips, and at another pilot school using the technology -- Anson Jones -- some parents "are taking out their kids, because they said, 'we don’t want to be part of this,'. That’s what they’ve reduced our children to -- inventory." Mr. Hernandez told the AFP.

In addition, activists from We Are Change/San Antonio and We Are Change/Texas Hill Country have helped the student's parents gain over 700 signatures to show there is opposition to the tracking technology.

In another new development, according to the AFP, two new bills filed in Austin, H.B. 101 and H.B. 102, would control the use of RFID in education statewide. The first would ban the use of RFID technology in school districts across Texas, and the second would allow it, as long as there is an opt-out program without detrimental consequences for the student.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Tech Industry

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35 comments
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  • Just exchange

    badges with each other. They can't all be expelled, the school board needs the money generated by having enough students!
    Tony Burzio
  • This would be impossible here in Germany.

    So now it is OK to track students like cattle? Or pets? This is ridiculous.
    mathiasappel@...
    • It's always been that way

      Hall ass

      Lavatory pass

      Library pass

      Hall monitors

      The courts have already ruled that such things are legal; this is just a more accurate and universal application.

      That said - i'm against it.
      fairportfan
  • No

    Just throw the f^&*(*&ing things away!
    What is this- Soviet Texas?
    And the brain dead idiot who introduced this- make him pay the cost of the program!
    kirovs@...
  • The right and and left hand at odds with each other...

    So.. The school expells a kid for not wearing a tracking device.

    But the school is also compelled to provide an education to every student.

    It seems to me the injunction by the lawyer should just be the start of the legal proceedings if the school is refusing to educate the student. On top of that, didn't the article say this was a *pilot* program?
    djlong
  • Is this a tech blog?

    "This allows the school to track the student's location after leaving campus and for as long as the badge is on the student's person."

    Not possible. RFID can't be tracked without readers.
    AnalogJoystick
    • Well, you see ......

      when the students are out in the community wearing those tags around their necks, everyone who sees them will know that they are from John Jay, and those people, having the tagged students in clear view, will clearly know where those particular students are, so it is sort of a very low tech "tracking" device.

      Also, if the students do get really lost, the "finders" can just return them to John Jay.

      So the tags do work, sort of, off school grounds. ;-)
      D.T.Long
      • You don't need an RFID chip for that

        A sticky with your name in it would have the exact same effect.
        wackoae
      • And School Uniforms Don't?

        I assume that the school piloting this have their own uniforms? Would this not be a much bigger advertisement for which school someone attended when they were not in school grounds? Unless they are continuing to wear these "necklaces" after they change clothes...
        tnbenson
  • Read the entire story

    The school had already removed the RFID chips because of backlash. It's just a student ID, now. She's pitching a fit because the school wants her ton wear it around her neck when on campus instead of carrying a student ID in her wallet.
    baggins_z
    • I would like to know

      what religious beliefs are stopping her from wearing the non-chip ID. Like the article says, if it forms part of the dress code and has no tracking ability, what's the objection?
      Little Old Man
      • Principles

        If it is not visible that her ID cards has its chip removed then it would suggest that she is complying with being tracked.

        I can understand that you would not want that if you are fighting the tracking on a basis of principle.
        IE9
      • Clashes with her "ensemble"

        There is NO WAY that "necklace" can be cool.
        D.T.Long
      • Mark of the beast

        Evangelicals interpret all kinds of things to potentially be the mark of the beast, such as social security numbers. These required ID badges are probably one of those things. This is happening in the bible belt, after all.
        Uncoveror
    • The Rest of the Story

      In the full story, in addition to wearing an ID without the RFID chips, part of the agreement was that she would publicly state she agreed with the program and all it's components. The student and her parents do not agree with the program, therefore, they could not sign the agreement stating they did. Far too much 'big brother'. And tracking off campus? What's the purpose of that?
      Nt0009
  • Just scary

    She should also be concerned about walking around on campus, anyway. Those cards are probably using 13.56MHz RFID, and will require the students to be constantly bombarded with high frequency waves, which do a very good job of passing through liquids and cell walls. However, they will rebound from metal, causing the waves to continuously penetrate the body, and may resonate the internal organs, including the brain. This can interfere with some electrical actvity in the brain, and some research indicates that if the brain resonation is the same in multiple brains, then the neural activity can be directed, much like current through a wire.
    I suppose it would be possible to avoid the inductive field, if one were to block the incoming RF somehow. Some sort of metal protection would have to surround the brain. I'm not quite sure what that might look like.
    FishonFire
    • I have the solution

      Tin foil hats, originally produced in 1999/2000 but they still work fine.
      Little Old Man
    • ???

      Almost all schools are equipped with wifi and they almost all have cell phone service. RFID readers are not going to bombard these kids with anything that is not already out there.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • TRY and be accurate...

    She wasn't expelled for refusing to wear the tracking ID, she was expelled for refusing to wear a NON-tracking ID.
    LOTS of schools (and businesses) make you wear an ID badge.
    She wanted to do civil disobedience without any of the repercussions of civil disobedience.
    It doesn't work that way.
    wygit
    • wrong

      the purpose of civil disobedience is to call attention to laws one disagrees with. In some cases people just accept whatever sentence is handed down, in other cases people use the court case as a way to call attention to the injustice. Both have been used extensively.
      bigsteve666