Locals weigh-in on tracking devices for students debate


POSTED: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 8:48pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 10:13pm

In an effort to keep track of it's students, a San Antonio school district put tracking devices in school ID's that students were required to wear.
One sophomore student refused and took the school to court.
Wednesday, a Texas judge ruled in favor of the school, saying it's ok to make students wear the locator chips on campus.

But the controversy is far from over.  The case could go to higher courts.
Hackers have broken into the school district's website to protest the alleged invasion of privacy.
Tracking students to keep truancy down is a divisive topic.

"I do think its a breach of privacy," said Sherrie Apodaca, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso.
"I don't think it's too much invasion of privacy especially at that age," said Jose Carnero.

Two sides of the aisle with one simple topic.
What is and what isn't too much surveillance?

"If the faculty wants to know where you are at all times, it is understandable, but to force students to wear a chip that's too much," Apodaca said.

Students at UTEP are just as divided over the issue as people across the nation.

"i just feel like it would be an invasion of privacy having to worry about having a chip on me and worry about and knowing that people are watching me," Carnero said.

Officials said, the locator chips that are used at two schools in Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, only track students while they're on school grounds.
They say it's an issue of losing money every time a student doesn't show up to class.

But some say there's a gray area when it comes to the surveillance.

"If it was on the college or over 18 years or older if might be different, but for a child I think it's a good idea to have them monitored at all times, said UTEP student, Luis Conde. 

San Antonio isn't the only place this technology is being tried in schools.  There are districts in both Anaheim, California and Baltimore, Maryland that are also tracking their students.

Local school districts chimed in about the issue of keeping up with their students by using an electronic tracking system.

Daniel Escobar spokesperson for Socorro Independent School District said:

 "The use of technology in this manner is not something the school district of Socorro has discussed or is considering at this time. Student attendance is a priority of the school district and we're continually looking for ways and opportunity to engage students and improve attendance which is directly related to student achievement."

Spokesperson for Ysleta Independent School District Patricia Ayala said:

"School districts around the nation are utilizing technology to assist in student attendance and safety. This federal ruling does not impact YISD since we do not have plans at this time to utilize locator chips for our students".


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