Parents fight school over mandatory RFID on
| February 10, 2005
A school in California has declared that
chipping its young pupils is mandatory - and parents are furious
Brittan Elementary School in Sutter,
California, introduced a scheme last month to use RFID to identify
its pupils. The RFID chips are worn around the neck in the form of
ID badges and can be used to monitor where the children are on
school grounds, and carry the child's name, photo, grade and unique
school ID number.
A recent letter sent home to parents from
the school said: "It is important the badge be worn at all times
during school hours. This additional step will help keep your child
safe while at school."
The letter concludes: "Students who lose
or destroy their badges will be accountable for the cost of
According to the school's weekly bulletin,
the system allowed the staff to find when a non-student was in the
school, due to the interloper's lack of badge. The bulletin also
says the RFID tags could be used to help identify any missing
children in the event of an emergency.
The newsletter adds: "Questions have
arisen regarding the safety of the materials used in the badges. The
chip that is used to activate the attendance of a child entering a
classroom does not have any radioactive elements."
Parents aren't just complaining about the
chips on health grounds, they're complaining about the civil
liberties implications too.
Michael Cantrall, parent of one of the
children at Brittan Elementary, said: "Are we trying to bring them
up with respect and trust, or tell them that you can't trust anyone,
you are always going to be monitored and someone is always going to
be watching you?", according to a report in the Associated Press.
Some parents have complained to the school
authorities about the use of the tags and civil liberties groups,
including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have taken up the
Principal Earnie Graham told the AP that
he hopes to add a barcode to the RFID tag to allow the children to
pay for meals at school and take out library books. He said that
while the whole school must wear the badges, only the seventh and
eighth graders are being tracked.