At the Enterprise Charter School in Buffalo, N.Y., a controversial new technology is now in play that administrators say can detect whether students are in school or playing hooky using microchips embedded inside their student ID cards.

The tiny identifiers are known as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags--inexpensive computer chips uploaded with personal information about individual students and monitored by an electronic reader located just inside the entrance to the school.

Proponents of the technology say the chips, viewed by many as next-generation bar codes, will help automate administrative tasks from


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