A school in California has received a $50,000 grant that it’s spending in a pretty odd way. It’s using the money to put tracking devices on preschoolers.
The Contra Costa County School District has put RFID tags into basketball jerseys which the students will wear while at school. The bulk of the grant went towards setting up sensors around the school to read the tags and computer systems to actually monitor where each student is.
The point is to make it easier to make sure all students are accounted for. As anyone who has spent time with small children knows, they really like to run around. If you are responsible for a child and he gets lost, you want to find him as soon as possible. So while the idea of attaching tracking devices to kids seems a little odd, the usage and reasoning seem sound.
Part of why I’m not going to freak out about this is because it in no way encroaches on anyone’s reasonable expectation of privacy. If the school district were, for example, using some grant money to read all text messages sent and received by high schoolers; the school would need a warrant as that would constitute a wiretap (though that might not even be the case any longer). But your location at a public school isn’t exactly private information. And again, this facilitates grownups to watch kids and make sure they’re not doing dangerous things with scissors.