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By Natasha Burton
Truancy is a time-honored tradition amongst school kids – don’t pretend you didn’t do it. Or at least knew a kid that did it. Recently though, with GPS-wired apps in their smartphones and tracking chips in their ID cards, students have had a much harder time pulling a Ferris Bueller.
This year, the Northside Independent School District started handing out ‘smart’ID cards to students at middle and high schools to keep tabs on their students,should any try to go walkabout. Which is either an ingenious solution, or a terrifying invasion of privacy, depending on your point of view.
High schooler Andrea Hernandez leans towards the latter, recently avoidingsuspension from school for refusing to carry the card.The school argues the card is necessaryfor accessing essential school services like the cafeteria or library; Andrea’s legaldefense team argues it’s to do with keeping attendance up to get moregovernment money; Hernandez herself likens it to a Satanic ‘mark of the beast’.
While other schools have considered using similarsystems, so far, there’s no statewide or federal mandate for them to do so.Hernandez’s case brings up questions about schools slapping homing beaconson their students – should they have that kind of authority? Or are they a smartway to keep track of students – not to mention provide parents with some peaceof mind? Does students’ privacy matter?
But, perhaps the most important question of all is this: Would you want your child to carry one?