Ruling: District Can Require Students to Wear Locator Chip

Published: January 8, 2013

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Northside School District has the right to require students to wear locator chips when they are on campus, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

With his decision, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia upheld the district’s decision to expel 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at Jay High School, who refused to wear the radio frequency identification (RFID) device — a requirement for all students, Reuters reports. Many opponents of the ruling, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the decision violated Hernandez’s constitutional right to privacy.

District officials maintain that the RFID devices are not used to track or regulate students’ activities, nor spy on them. Rather, the technology helps locate students who are in the school building but not in the classroom when the bell rings.

As it stands, schools receive funds from the state based on the number of students inside a classroom at the beginning of the day. However, due to student loitering in the hallways, the district has lost $1.7 million annually, according to district representatives.

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