SIA Opposes Texas Bills, Says RFID Technology Keeps Students Safe

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Security Industry Association (SIA) has voiced its opposition to proposed legislation in Texas that would prohibit the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as a means to identify, transmit information about, or track the location of students.

In January, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R) and Rep. Cindy Burkett (R) introduced HB 101 and HB 102. In addition to prohibiting the use of RFID badges in schools, the bills would allow parents to opt out and prevent students from being punished for not participating in RFID programs. Sen. Craig Estes (R) also introduced SB 173 in response to a lawsuit against the Northside Independent School District (NISD), which expelled a student for refusing to wear the RFID device, California Business Litigation Blog reports.

SIA CEO Don Erickson wrote letters to the Texas House of Representatives and Senate stating that the technology is a proven solution for the protection of people and assets, nor has anyone been harmed with the deployment of RFID. He also cited that since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, the legislation does not take into consideration the safety and security benefits that the use of such technology can provide.

Eliminating the technology, Erickson wrote, could result in economic harm and job losses for the state, as major RFID manufacturers are based in Texas. Additionally, RFID technology could help schools verify higher attendance rates, which could lead to more funding from federal and state governments.

Rather than eliminate the use of the technology, SIA supports a holistic approach to school security that includes: funding for school security assessments; investment in technology, such as digital video cameras and RFID-based access control systems; and emergency preparedness training for education and law enforcement personnel.

The letter included an offer to provide the Texas legislature with a demonstration and explanation of RFID technology and how it can be deployed for the safety and security of school students throughout the state.

Earlier this month, SIA announced it is forming a committee of experts to share technical expertise with the administration and Congress as they work to adopt new school security initiatives.

To view the letters, click here.

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