News

States backtrack on student tracking technology

By Jeffrey Stinson, Stateline.org
November 6th, 2014

Use of tracking technology is increasingly common, but many wonder about its necessity

tracking-technologiesDo you know where your student is? At school? On the bus? Paying for lunch in the cafeteria?

Principals in thousands of the nation’s schools know the answer because radio frequency chips are embedded in students’ ID cards, or their schools are equipped with biometric scanners that can identify portions of a student’s fingerprint, the iris of an eye or a vein in a palm.

Such technologies have become increasingly common in schools, which use them to take attendance, alert parents where their children get off the school bus or speed up lunch lines.

But those tools, which are supposed to make schools safer and more efficient, have become a flashpoint for controversy. Several states are now banning or restricting the use of the technology in schools, as worries over student privacy have risen amid breaches of government and commercial computer databases.

(Next: What states are doing when it comes to tracking technologies)