Brittan Elementary School, the only grade school in a California rural town, is requiring students to wear FRID badges that can track their every move. Teenagers must wear those identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher’s handheld computer when s/he passes under an antenna above classroom doors.
The system was imposed, without parental input, to simplify attendance-taking, reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Bar codes could eventually be added so that students can use them to pay for cafeteria meals and check out library books.
The superintendent of the district told the parents who are concerned by privacy that their children could be disciplined for boycotting the badges — and that he doesn’t understand what all their angst is about.
The badges were developed by InCom Corp., a company co-founded by the parent of a former Brittan student. The company has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off.