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The anti-student RFID movement has already begun

When I wrote about the battle over student RFID, I said it was just a matter of time before the Lege intervened. Turns out I was behind the curve on this.

Since first hearing about the use of radio frequency technology to track public school students in 2004, state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has filed a bill during every subsequent legislative session to prohibit the technology’s usage. Now, with civil liberties proponents supporting one San Antonio student’s right to refuse the technology, her proposal might get wider attention.

Chris Steinbach, Kolkhorst’s chief of staff, said he thinks a court case — in which the San Antonio student is arguing that her school’s ID card pilot program violates her civil rights — might spark the necessary attention to move the bill forward. A hearing on that case was scheduled for Wednesday morning in a state district court, but it was removed to federal court.

“The stars are aligning with people on the left and right with people who are concerned about parental rights and privacy,” Steinbach said.

[...]

[Rep. Kolkhorst] has pre-filed two bills on the identification technology. HB 102 would bar school districts from using the radio tags. HB 101, on the other hand, would allow districts to only use the cards if their school boards approve them — and only if students who refuse the ID cards are given an “alternative method of identification” and not penalized for their refusal.

“There’s the easy way and the hard way,” Steinbach said. “She’s just going to gauge the temperature of the Legislature.”

I continue to be baffled by the vehemence some people feel about this. I just don’t see it as that big a deal. Of course, I don’t have non-standard religious beliefs, and as I noted in the previous post, we don’t generally give much credence to the idea of “freedom” for students in other contexts. Having said that, I have no objections to HB101, which seems like a reasonable approach to the issue. Surely if you believe in local control, it’s preferable to the blanket ban that HB102 would mandate. We’ll see what the Lege prefers.

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