Community to break silence on student surveillance badges
Broad coalition to host Q&A on NISD tracking program
SAN ANTONIO – The electronic monitoring of nearly 4,000 San Antonio students is a hot button issue which has left many local residents and parents concerned.
From the ACLU to the Tea Party, people are asking questions about the Northside Independent School District’s controversial method to electronically tag and track students’ daily movements — moment by moment — throughout the hallways, classrooms, restrooms, and locker rooms. What’s more concerning, these active RFID tracking devices can be used (and abused) off campus.
So far, the response from Northside ISD has been to expel students who refuse to be tracked and to silence any possible debate in public board meetings.
A community forum to discuss the new mandatory radio-frequency identification (RFID) badges (“Smart ID”) is set for 6:30pm on Monday, February 25th, at the Leon Valley Community Center located at 6421 Evers Road.
Members of the press are no doubt familiar with high-profile national headlines involving the administrative removal of John Jay High School Engineering Academy student Andrea Hernandez. Hernandez and her family recently resorted to legal action to defend her decision to not wear an RFID badge.
“This goes far beyond one student and her crusade to defend her personal privacy as well as her freedom of speech and of religion,” said Heather Fazio, Executive Director of Texans for Accountable Government. “John Jay High is one of two schools in the Northside ISD participating in the “Smart ID” pilot program, but board members are considering the idea of going district-wide. So if we want to prevent the tagging of our students like cattle, we must raise our voices now!”
Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) is teaming up with a wide variety of organizations and individuals to educate the community about RFID technology and to answer questions parents may have.
Scheduled presenters at the forum include:
*Dr. Katherine Albrecht — a Harvard graduate who has done extensive research on RFID
*Mike Wade — RFID manufacturer contracted with NISD
*Matt Simpson – Legislative Liaison for the Texas ACLU
*Salvatore A Apicelli (Sal) — Chair of the San Antonio Tea Party’s Education Committee
*Dr. Laura Pressley – Public Health advocate and RF (radio frequency) researcher
*Moderated by Joseph Fenity, former NBC News journalist.
The second half of the event will offer attendees and the media an opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.
In the interests of objectivity and a balanced discussion, all NISD board members have been invited to participate, in addition to the Principals of the schools which have implemented this pilot program, as well as the NISD superintendent, Dr. Brian Woods.
“Isn’t that what a pilot program is for?” said Heather Fazio, TAG’s Executive Director. “We hope everyone — whether in support of the badges or against them — will come and speak up at this forum, so that parents, students, teachers, and administrators have all the facts they need to reach a rational conclusion.”
To schedule an interview, or for more information, contact Heather Fazio at 512-825-9142.
* ChipFreeSchools.com — advocating the removal of RFID badges from school campuses.
* TAGTexas.org — trans-partisan, grassroots activists working to defend individual privacy and liberty.
* NISD.net/StudentLocator – NISD’s website dedicated to pilot program