October 07, 2010
The Big Hall Monitor in the Sky
This just in from Santa Fe (h/t to Everett). We are all doomed.
SANTA FE — Students in Santa Fe have to wear ID badges to class, complete with a built-in tracking device.
The Smart Badge program started this school year, and is getting mixed reviews from parents and students. Patrick Mann is a senior and said he feels like he’s in prison. “Normally, the only people you would track are say prisoners or somebody that’s done something very wrong,” Mann said.
All students at Santa Fe Junior High and Santa Fe High School have to wear the radio frequency IDs. The sensors are in the ceiling on campus, but Mann said they keep tabs of you off campus too…
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 07, 2010 10:03 AM
I lived in Santa Fe for a while and used to drive past Santa Fe High on my way to work every day. It sat at a "T" intersection with lights; my route was along the cross of the "T" and I would sometimes get stopped at the light, with the perpendicular road heading toward downtown off to my right. Quite often, there would be lots of kids, crowds even, heading off down this street in the opposite direction of the school. I mean, a lot of them, streaming down the street. "What's going on?" I would think, "it's 8:30 in the morning; where are those kids going already?" I eventually figured out that many of them were being let off from their rides and immediately taking off across the street and fleeing toward town without ever setting foot on the school grounds. This was confirmed by a coworker, who said she had been giving her nieces rides to school until she found out they were doing exactly this the second she pulled away.
To be fair, I really couldn't blame them. The high school was a fairly new but dreadfully ugly and depressing place. It really did look for all the world like a medium-security correctional facility, down to what seemed like miles of 8-ft., barb-wire-topped chain link fencing surrounding the whole place and breaking it up into paddock-like enclosures. And despite all the security, it still was notorious for fights and violence. I wouldn't have wanted to be there either.
Volunteering for the Obama campaign in Las Vegas in 2008, I spent some of Election Day at polling places in a huge, very institutional high school that had big signs all over forbidding everything a normal grownup might think of doing or having. Every once in a while there would be an Obama bumpersticker slapped across one of these everything-is-forbidden signs. Some poor kid's naive act of defiance. I keep wondering what those kids think now about Change.
Follow the money: I suspect a school board member has a friend who sells tracking systems.