back to article Texas schoolgirl loses case over RFID tag suspension

A federal court has ruled against the Texan teenager who was challenging her suspension for refusing to wear an RFID tag, despite objections on religious and privacy grounds. Last November, Andrea Hernandez, 15, was expelled from the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio, Texas after refusing to take part in …

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  1. frank ly

    I'm wondering ...

    "The school offered to let her use a lanyard without an RFID tag, ..."

    What would be the point of that?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      I wondered the same - if she can go without RFID tracking then why the hell not without the lanyard?

      Or would that give other kids the idea they could be free of big-bother oppression, which clearly will never do?

      1. Irk

        Re: I'm wondering ...

        @Paul Crawford: A lot of schools use ID cards to pay for lunches instead of cash. Even my primary schoolers are doing it. Then again they have their own debit cards (accounts and cards controlled by their mom) so the kids are used to the idea of paying with cards. The meal account thing also helps parents track what the kids bought and how much they spend, it can automatically be reloaded with funds, etc. That part's modern convenience.

        I have no idea what the ID does for BATHROOM breaks though, do they have card swipe locks on the bathroom doors or something?

        1. Dave 32
          Coat

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          Ah, getting the kids ready for a cashless society by training them to be dependent upon little pieces of plastic. Sounds like an excellent training ground to teach the more advanced of them to become hackers by reprogramming their little pieces of plastic. ;-)

          As for the bathroom access, I still say that a few mysterious brown piles and yellow puddles would remove that requirement VERY rapidly (although the guys are probably better equipped to create those mysterious yellow puddles more easily; hey, is that a case for discrimination?!?). ;-)

          Dave

          P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with the waterproof pockets and the RFID card duplicator in it.

          1. Fatman Silver badge

            Re: ...training them to be dependent upon little pieces of plastic

            There is another side to this - bullies stealing lunch money. At many schools this has been an ongoing problem; and by eliminating the need to carry coin, you thwart the bully. And, as the article points out, you get a summary of purchases; which could be used by interested parents to make sure their kids eat healthy meals, as opposed to the sugar laden crap found in so many school lunchroom vending machines.

            1. Ole Juul

              Re: ...training them to be dependent upon little pieces of plastic

              Fatman: There is another side to this - bullies stealing lunch money. At many schools this has been an ongoing problem; and by eliminating the need to carry coin, you thwart the bully.

              This doesn't solve the bully problem - they are simply accommodating it. There will still be bullies, they just won't get other people's lunch money.

            2. Don Jefe

              Re: ...training them to be dependent upon little pieces of plastic

              How big of a problem could this possibly? When I was a kid you fought with the asshat that was trying to steal your money. It is too bad that we are teaching children to depend on someone else to take care of them.

        2. BillG
          Big Brother

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          Using the RFID instead of cash? Just like chips in Las Vegas, it makes it easier to spend money because it's not money the kids are using. They aren't even using chips that represent money, they are using NOTHING to represent money.

          Prepares the kids for deep credit card debt later in life.

          OTOH, since these RFID tags deduct money out of an account, can it be argued that the school is acting as a bank without a banking license?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm wondering ...

            @BillG - Yes, it prepares kids to use cashless cash, it allows them to understand that cash is not just physical, it won't prepare them for credit as they won't be getting credit. Crucially however, it also allows kids not to have their dinner money stolen from them.

            It also can't be argued that the school is acting as a bank without a banking license, because they're not acting as a bank. They're not allowing any banking services, they certainly won't be using the word "deposit", you may as well argue that any school where dinner money is paid at the start of the week is a bank.

            1. Wize

              Re: I'm wondering ...

              "...it also allows kids not to have their dinner money stolen from them"

              Instead the kid will be forced to wait in a bush somewhere outside while the bully uses their RFID card to pay for their lunch.

        3. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          I have no problem with some sort of electronic ID for paying for meals, but I can't see why she has to ware it all of the time, nor do I see why it should EVER have been something related to visiting the bathroom.

          Really, how come for decades we all managed to grow up in schools with little more than a blackboard & chalk for technology? It seems this is a self-serving waste of money attempting to deal with societies ills by walking to an Orwellian nightmare.

          1. Thorne

            Re: I'm wondering ...

            "I have no problem with some sort of electronic ID for paying for meals, but I can't see why she has to ware it all of the time, nor do I see why it should EVER have been something related to visiting the bathroom."

            The most obvious reason for the bathroom is to keep people who shouldn't be at the school out of the bathrooms. Ex students, drug dealers, creepy old men, Westbo Baptist Church members etc

            1. Anonymous Coward 15

              Re: I'm wondering ...

              The most obvious reason for the bathroom is to keep people who shouldn't be at the school out of the bathrooms. Ex students, drug dealers, creepy old men, Westbo Baptist Church members etc

              Those people should already have been stopped at the perimeter.

          2. david 12 Bronze badge

            why it should EVER have been something related to visiting the bathroom...

            You carry your ID while out of the classroom. Every person in a public area is required to carry ID. You carry your ID while in the corridors. You need to use the passageways to get to the bathroom.

            It's not the bathroom that requires the ID, it's the public area outside where you need ID.

        4. Daniel B.

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          "I have no idea what the ID does for BATHROOM breaks though, do they have card swipe locks on the bathroom doors or something?"

          I guess they have RFID checkers in the classroom door, so it won't open unless you have your RFID. It might also serve to track you actually going to the bathroom vs. just skipping out class.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          @Irk,

          Maybe a number 2 costs more than a #1. Don't know how they could tell the difference with a female though.

          How privacy is being ignored by the court is beyond me. Maybe the judge should have their bathrooms breaks announced on the court website. "Please standby, the judge is experiencing technical difficulties."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm wondering ... privacy

            For the comments on privacy, from what I've read in the news, there is no such thing for minors in America.

            Parents would go to prison for recording their own children. School employees recording children secretly on laptops? totally legit apparently. :(

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm wondering ...

          At my son's secondary school, the toilets don't have doors. The cubicles do, but they're arranged in an alcove off of the main corridor with a discreet camera covering the open area. Cuts down on bullying oportunities apparently.

    2. Irk

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      Probably IDs her so she can get lunch and such/have a general campus ID without actually being physically tracked.

    3. GotThumbs
      Boffin

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      She would still wear the lanyard with still has her photo ID but not the tracking chip. All students would need to comply with this or it fails to be applied to all students and thus is not considered profiling or some other kind of BS. Fact is, with the state of today's US society, this kind of monitoring in US schools is one way to help ensure students are where they are supposed to be as well as helps with security on school grounds. Maybe they just need to setup camera's on campus everywhere (except locker rooms and showers of course). Even private schools have instances of violence and the number one goal is that everyone...everyone should have a feeling of safety while on campus. If a student does not wish to comply, then they are free to leave and get their education else ware or be home schooled. There are points where the safety/security of the many outweighs the freedoms of the few. You can't accommodate every little want and desire.

      1. Luke
        Pint

        Re: I'm wondering ...

        If I'm not mistaken teens find ways around everything isn't this just another stupid attempt to show ridiculous force to make these guys attend when actually the school should be making sure they're teaching things people actually want to learn.

    4. LarsG
      Meh

      2020AD our future

      New legislation: section 20/23/1847/329-234/ AW

      The Government has declared that the population will be micro chipped, DNA sampled and tattoo'd with an identification number.

      This is being implemented to protect your freedoms and your rights and to protect the population against as yet unknown threats and dissent. You do not have the right to appeal. You have nothing to fear from your Government if you have nothing to hide.

      Failure to comply will result in you being declared a non-citizen entitled to no state facilities.

      You cooperation is appreciated.

      OUR FUTURE

      1. nexsphil

        Re: 2020AD our future

        Something tells me the guillotine will see the light of day once more before all this comes to fruition. At least, I damn well hope so.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2020AD our future

        Yeh because the UK's introduction of a national identity card worked SO well in 2009.

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      "The school offered to let her use a lanyard without an RFID tag, ..."

      What would be the point of that?

      The lanyard holds a photo ID, to prove who she is, and is indeed a member of that school.

      If not for that, any bloody kid could come off the street into the school and get free education.

      We can't have that now can we?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      The last paragraph of the article mentions "stay at the magnet program", so the tracking is probably done using the magnetic tape strip (like on a credit card) when one needs to open a bathroom door, etc.

      1. DavidRa
        Thumb Down

        Re: I'm wondering ...

        I believe a magnet program is a program for more advanced learners - the idea being that you attract the smart and/or enthusiastic kids and the rest will follow. So it's also somewhat of a "comply or go back to the less advanced classes and be bored/lose opportunities".

      2. david 12 Bronze badge

        magnet program

        A "magnet program" is an advanced studies, or special studies, or sport or technology or specialist program. It's a "magnet" program because it draws students from outside the school district.

        In this case, if she doesn't want to go to the the school with the RFID tag, she can go back to her local school -- which would probably not be able to exclude her so easily.

    7. ThatHairyCanadian
      Big Brother

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      It's called Operant Conditioning. Getting her to accept the lanyard represents the actual item so closely that it becomes more socially 'normalised' to wear the genuine article. This is a pretty common group behavioural effect that most advertisers seek to exploit, with great success.

    8. Guillermo Lo Coco
      Thumb Down

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      Welcome to "Idiocracy"

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      I am wondering just how much this will accelerate and increase the school drop out rate......

      The USA leads the educational world with the highest "fuck you and left school" rates, as does it's percentage of population in prison.

      Pretty soon the USA will have more people in prison than on the streets.

      "Heyyyy instead of sending the kids to school - who have the modern plague of Attention Disorders, we can send them to a state run concentration camp!"

    10. teebie

      Re: I'm wondering ...

      "What would be the point of that?"

      So she looks like she is wearing the RFID and the other students don't realise that the RFID is pointless, intrustive and optional.

  2. Irk
    Facepalm

    She doesn't have to wear the RFID

    Taking it all the way to court to fight the RFID requirement seems like a waste of a court case when the school waved the requirement.

    1. Steve Knox
      Headmaster

      Here. You dropped this:

      i

    2. GotThumbs
      Boffin

      Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID

      It is, but that's what P.O.S. US Lawyers live for. Wasting others time and getting paid for it.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID

      There are two issues being tested:

      1. Do I have to wear RFID (no - the school has waved the requirement)

      2. Should I have to participate in a very invasive tracking scheme? (currently yes)

      Linking religion ("the mark of the beast") to this is spurious, but the issue is the same - it is a system which prevents them literally from "buying or selling (or going to the toilet) without the mark." It isn't just any mark, its a privatised surveillance and access control mark which also monitors purchasing behaviour and it isn't voluntary.

      I'm all for tech, but not even the bank I worked for required that sort of "security." Whatever the issues in this case, I'm not sure we should be accustomising children to this sort of thing. If nothing else, it doesn't help to teach them the value of money.

      I think we're a bit beyond common sense however. Now its down to the pride of the organisation ("we won't change our system for the benefit of those who take us to court") vs the misguided individual.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID

        I'm all for tech, but not even the bank I worked for required that sort of "security." Whatever the issues in this case, I'm not sure we should be accustomising children to this sort of thing.

        I teaches the children to be submissive to authority. Some people think this is a good thing. I think it causes psychological harm. Respect and submission are not the same thing. Respect is earned - submission is enforced.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID

        @p lee

        This actually sounds remarkably similar to the security system the bank I work at uses, aside from the purchase issue.

        It used to do that, too but it stopped a long time ago. but back then the security was just on the access points. nowadays, since its been made RFID, every door has a security lock on it allowing tracking anywhere in the building.

        On the plus side, good old British politeness completely ruins the system for tracking purposes. Everyone is constantly holding doors open for others so most people barely ever actually have to present a card. The only guaranteed time is when crossing from one half of the building to the other where there are gates that, in theory, only allow one person through per swipe. The reality is slightly less clear cut though due to their incredible state of disrepair

      3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID - P. Lee

        You say that linking religion is spurious*, but have you read the judgment? According to the judge, the principal of the school cites only two examples of why this intrusive system is a success:

        "Very recently, a parent of a special needs student was concerned that the child did not get on the bus after school and the school staff was able to pull the sensor readings to determine when the student was on campus and when he left, thus reassuring the parent. On another occasion, a building was evacuated and campus administrators were able to quickly identify and locate students' badges that had been left in the building during the evacuation." (pp4-5)

        So, this system is wonderful for passing the buck and saying that a student with special needs wasn't on the grounds, but wandering the streets somewhere (very reassuring!), and for finding lost ID cards (not students, note)! Somehow, I don't actually see the value (except for the liability issue).

        I think the judge has dropped the ball on this one - none of the arguments actually stack up to create such a need that everyone should be RFID tracked to this extent.

        * I have absolutely no time for religious cranks, but the rational side should be better!

      4. MissingSecurity

        Re: She doesn't have to wear the RFID

        A lot of place I know do this, one off the top my head it data centers will implement this to track techies. I guess I don't see how this is much different than standard card reader systems? I haven't read anything in the article or others which suggest some geek with a hardon is watching the whereabouts of all the student. My guess is they card them going in and out of school, and maybe at other various location and once a day the school correlates it to attendance, breaks, etc.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    St Trinians?

    I would have thought that if there were 200 other students who objected to the system, they could merely swap tags whenever they passed each other, or before popping outside for a cigarette (or making a rendezvous with Sid James to place a bet on the horses). What happened to a teacher making a roll-call at the start of each class?

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: St Trinians?

      You can't swap tags if they can be used for purchases. I presume there's a pin as well, but that isn't much security in a closed environment where these things are used by people you meet every day.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be literal or not to be literal...

    "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads,"

    If the Bible is to be taken strictly literally, how is a lanyard hanging around one's neck the same as one's forehead or right hand?

    Agreed, figuratively, it is an _excellent_ match. But the same folk insist again and again that the Bible is to be taken literally, not figuratively.

    Devil's advocate (of course)

    1. Darryl

      Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

      You have to remember, this is the southern US we're talking about...

      According to them, the bible is only to be taken literally when it condones discrimination against other races, women, people with different sexual preferences, etc.

      The rest of the time, figuratively is just fine, as long as it can be used to further whatever the cause is. For example, this cause is to be able to skip out of class without being found out (or something)

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

      It's been my observation that people who insist "That the Bible (or the Talmud, or the Quran, or the [insert holy book of What/Whoever somebody worships here], is literally true", usually mean, "Whatever I choose it to mean, and I can prove it by selectively picking random bits from it that can be bent to mean what I want and ignoring the bits that don't, or ever plainly state that I am wrong."

      The Human mind is a delightfully peculiar instrument of self deception, (That's why I've never missed mine since I "lost" it.*)

      *Of course, it might have simply let me believe that I lost it, but... eh...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

        "Hallowed are the Ori"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

        My Holy Book is Mr D. Knuth's "Art of Computer Programming"

        or possibly "Design Patterns"

        or possibly the local takeaway menu

    3. Grave

      Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

      http://bayimg.com/oaIoOAaeF

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

        "descriptive or advocating"

        Weasel words.

        Also, all on the TV, every night, purely for "fun."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be literal or not to be literal...

      A mark would usually be more political or socially apparent. A tag/badge/key for travel and purchasing seems no more than the "tag/key/badge" we use called coins. So I too would guess it's some other type of "mark" people would expect. Such as a political badge (which this rf tag is not from what I can see).

  5. Battsman
    Devil

    Confused?

    I'm confused. They are concerned about being condemned to hell, but they already live in Texas now?

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Coat

      Re: Confused?

      Apparently, your personal circle of hell wasn't available to them earlier.

      There's nothing wrong with Texas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused?

        There's nothing wrong with Texas.

        Martin Amis: "Doesn't Texas sometimes seem to resemble a country like Saudi Arabia, with its great heat, its oil wealth, its brimming houses of worship, and its weekly executions?"

    2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Stop

      Re: Confused?

      Hey now, don't mess with Texas!

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Confused?

        Only two things come from Texas...

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyFSdj1J5Vw

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. MOTB

    They are putting RFID chips in socks now, and there is talk about using itty bitty ones (0.2mm) at wifi frequencies as a method of inventory tracking.

    Plus the chips themselves aren't particularly expensive, there was talk about printing them on a standard inkjet in a controlled humidity environment using multiple organic semiconductor layers for fractions of a penny per 100.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here in the UK you'd just give all your rfids to pupils that wanted to go to school (or were beaten into submission by their peers) and then go loiter in the streets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A UK school used RFID in the school uniforms

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/22/kid_chipping_doncaster_go/

      I wonder how that worked out

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

        On a side not....this kind of "CHIPPING" for children (those who are truly loved) would be most helpful in the case of a child gone missing or kidnapped. In the US, its not uncommon for these kinds of things happening and is all too often.

        People always have a tantrum before understanding the reason or seeing the benefit of something. I find it laughable the number of young americans who don't eat green food. Just a growing/breeding collection of adult children with no sense or reasoning skills and I've lived in the US since the age of 2.

        Just look at our recent election results and the poor track record of our president. Even when its right in front of there faces...they choose to ignore the obvious. America keeps moving towards a time when the adult children are dictating how the country is run, but they don't fully understand what it takes. This is why Obama continues to "Campaign" and not be more involved in governing the country. He wants the title, but not the job that comes with it. Would you let your children be responsible for your households daily decisions?

        1. Tank boy
          Facepalm

          Re: The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

          Teabagger or Paultard... Hard to tell the difference anymore. You lost the election, get over it.

          1. Fatman Silver badge

            Re: You lost the election, get over it.

            My sentiments exactly.

            Now, take your medicine for electing W for two terms.

            To me, two terms of W, and his off the books wars amount to someone with a bad case of constipation, and Obama as the medicine needed to flush all of that blocked up shit out the back end. Until it is all out, the US is going to be miserable.

            Unfortunately, it will may take until 2016 before we can declare the patient better. A lot depends on how much shit needs to be moved.

        2. Magani
          Big Brother

          Re: The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

          "I find it laughable the number of young americans who don't eat green food."

          They've watched Soylent Green?

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Ole Juul

          Re: The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

          AC 20:43 said:

          "On a side not "

          Exactly.

        5. Daniel B.
          Trollface

          Re: The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

          "Just look at our recent election results and the poor track record of our president. Even when its right in front of there faces...they choose to ignore the obvious."

          Yes, I am also apalled that so many Republicans were elected/re-elected, given their awful record at breaking the US. Wait, that's what you meant, didn't you?

        6. Daniel B.
          Boffin

          RFID doesn't work like that

          Oh, and by the way ... you fail at tech as well. RFID has a very limited operation range, so its use for missing/kidnapped children is nil. It also makes the "oh noes mark of teh beast" argument kinda silly, because they can't really track students *outside* school because of this very limitation.

          For RFID to actually track people everywhere, you would have to have RFID readers *everywhere*.

        7. Franklin
          FAIL

          Re: The benefits still outweigh the negative...if only clear lenses are used.

          "On a side not....this kind of "CHIPPING" for children (those who are truly loved) would be most helpful in the case of a child gone missing or kidnapped."

          If they start chipping kids in order to prevent kidnapping, I hope the chips are placed in an obvious and conspicuous location. You know, to prevent the kidnappers from having to do too much exploratory surgery when they dig the chips out with a pocket knife. (Seriously, who thinks that chipping kids would deter kidnapping?)

      2. mhenriday
        Big Brother

        That, of course, is the real point -

        all this business about «the mark of the beast» is simply so much quasi-religious froth that makes it titillating for people in the US (and no few commentators here on the Reg) to follow.Are authorities to be allowed to track us all in this «not intrusive to the pupil in the slightest» manner - beginning, of course, with the schools and the elderly, as it's so obviously for a «good purpose», i e, their «safety», or are people to be allowed to opt out, after the disadvantages of doing so have been explained to them ? O brave new world, That has such people in't....

        Henri

  8. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I feel conflicted.

    On the one had, being mercilessly tracked by her masters throughout the day, including the loo I gather, seems a bit like big brother gone wrong.

    On the other hand, she is clearly a religious nutcase.

    I don't know whether to support her cause or cry at her ignorance.

    1. Dave 32
      Coat

      Re: I feel conflicted.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_enemy_of_my_enemy_is_my_friend

      Dave

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I feel conflicted.

      It's just an excuse. Religion is just one way people try to get out of doing things, complying with the general societies expectations or as an excuse for their actions.

      Having lived in the US most of my life...I can tell you the red warning flags always appear for me, anytime someone starts touting how religious they are or justifying their actions through their religion. I know for a fact that's my knowing that the Con-game/B.S. will soon follow. Keep in mind that I'm speaking from my own personal life experience and may not be the same for you.

      I believe anyone who is truly religious, does not wear it on their sleeve, as it is a personal relationship between themselves and God.

      Best wishes for the new year,

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: I feel conflicted.

        > I believe anyone who is truly religious, does not wear it on their sleeve

        Religion is about where you place your ultimate loyalty and trust. If this doesn't show up (at least sometimes) in your real-life actions, its probably a not your real religion. Most people put themselves at the top of the loyalty & trust tree, even if they believe that there is a God. They are practical atheists.

        Unless you have human eyes watching for tailgating and single-person gates, swipe cards are surprisingly non-useful for normal-hours security. It may be a convenience for the school, but I suspect its mostly PR and having students avoid the scheme destroys that.

  9. Shane Lusby
    Pirate

    Hand off

    I would think collecting the RFIDs and handing them off between classes so there were continuously 200 students in a certain class and several others completely empty would rapidly shoot this one in the foot.

  10. Graham Wilson
    Flame

    It's bad enough were I live...

    ...but Christ I'm damn glad I don't live in the US, especially Texas.

    Wot fucking next? The classroom's pencil sharper replaced by a DNA identikit?

    Yuk, I feel like migrating to Mars, and don't follow me, especially if you're from Texas.

    1. koolholio

      Re: It's bad enough were I live...

      You'd possibly be tracked by nasa? LOL

      1. Graham Wilson

        Re: It's bad enough were I live...

        Probably, but when I was a kid we didn't need to be tracked (and most survived and grew up in a more sociable and friendly world).

  11. koolholio
    WTF?

    Instead...

    They drive a car with a GPS system,

    They bought her a new cell phone

    They gave her a panic talisman?

    Is this RFID-phobia or impulsive over use of geolocationary data. I know which one the governments would like to tackle first.

    1. ian 22
      Facepalm

      Re: Instead...

      Are these the same as the ones who want to track pregnant women to insure they don't abort innocent life? The same ones who want to abort ^Wdeport those without identification?

      ""We firmly believe that it is our Hell Fire Belief that if we compromise our faith and religious freedom to allow you to track my daughter while she is at school it will condemn us to hell," Hernandez's father wrote in a letter to the court, the San Antonio Express reports."

      Yes, she will be condemmed to the hell desk for eternity.

      1. Neil Greatorex
        Headmaster

        Re: Instead...

        Could you ensure your insurance?

  12. Katie Saucey
    Meh

    Engineering school?

    One would think these kids could engineer themselves a solution to their tracking woes (cafeteria microwave maybe?).

    1. Graham Wilson

      @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Re: Engineering school?

      The kitchen microwave mincemeats RFIDs. I know, I'm an expert at mincing them. (Timing's critical--one doesn't want to damage what they're attached to or embedded in.)

      Spread the word.

      1. Old Used Programmer

        Re: @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Engineering school?

        What ran through my mind when I first heard about this was a bulk tape eraser (or similarly powerful electromagnet).

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Graham Wilson

          @Old Used Programmer -- Re: @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Engineering school?

          1. It's highly unlikely that a bulk eraser or powerful electromagnet will do it.

          2. I've tried with my Wiercliffe bulk eraser and the RFIDs just laughed at it--mine's the same as this one on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Weircliffe-Bulk-Eraser-Model-6-Degausser-Ex-MOD-Army-SAS-Who-Knows-/320778826601 and this eraser is about as powerful as they come in normal circumstances.

          3. It stands to reason that a bulk eraser will not work as the RFID's antenna is made of copper wire or such and is very short relative to the wavelength of the eraser's 50/60Hz--which is many hundreds of miles! Erasers are designed to work on ferrous/magnetic materials--copper isn't.

          4. To destroy an RFID you need to zap the junction of the transistor(s) that are connected to its antenna. The only easy way to get enough RF (Radio Frequency) energy with sufficient power to do this is with a microwave oven--it has the power and a wavelength short enough to be induced into the RFID's antenna (that's about 10 cm).

          5. You could always jam RFIDs from their detecting transmitter by swamping it with a separate local RF source on the same or similar frequency. However, in most jurisdictions this would probably be illegal (transmitting without a licence).

          6. You could shield the RFID in a Faraday cage--that's an electrically conductive wrapping such as aluminium foil or metal box. This effectively shorts out the detector's radio waves and stops them getting to the RFID. Also, there are specialised electrically conducting cloths in which ID passes etc. (things that contain RFIDs) could be wrapped but I've not tried them for shielding effectiveness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Jamming / broadcast license

            RFID operates in unlicensed spectrum, which is why one doesn't require a license to operate the RFID cards and readers themselves. Such as your door access card, contactless credit card or passport.

            Jamming may fall foul of other rules and regulations though, such as the FCC rules in the US or the Computer Misuse Act 1990 / Police and Justice Act 2006 (impair operation of a computer or program) in the UK.

            Shielding works very effectively. There are foil-lined wallets and passport holders widely available on-line. It would be interesting to consider whether the use of such could be said to fall within the scope of the mentioned or other legislation?

            1. Graham Wilson

              @A.C. -- Re: Jamming / broadcast license

              "RFID operates in unlicensed spectrum...."

              In most jurisdictions where unlicensed spectrum exists, unlicensed use is only permitted up to a small strictly controlled power limit--100mW to 1W or so depending on service. To ensure effective jamming you may need well above this power limit, thus a license.

              But as you say "Jamming may fall foul of other rules and regulations though", so there's the Catch-22--you won't be granted a license. Jamming has a long history and protocols have evolved with it. The ITU radio regulations specifically exist so that there is a peaceful coexistence between radio users and jamming goes against this ethos--hence licenses are unlikely to be granted.

              It gets very messy from here. Some jurisdictions have 'secrecy provisions', which means that if you hear/receive a signal you are not allowed to act upon it unless it's meant for you. This leads to complications such as police radar--you may not be allowed to own a radar detector or the ludicrous situation where you allowed to own one but are not allowed to act upon its data--i.e. put your foot upon the brake.

              In summary, radio regs are a minefield in almost every jurisdiction.

      2. Eponymous Cowherd
        Devil

        Re: @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Engineering school?

        Assuming they are off the shelf tags, rather than zapping them, buy a whole shedload and program them with duplicate IDs to those in use.

        Hide them around the school, stick 'em on other kids, teachers, etc.

        Sit back and watch the system collapse.

        1. punk4evr

          Re: @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Engineering school?

          Hah! Wanna have some fun??? Go to like A Best buy, or my favorites book stores. I have also done record stores as well.... Wait around and look for someone putting the security tags on the merchandise. The the roll of tags, or whatever they are using, and drop them all over the floor sticky side up. The wait for the fun to begin!

          Guaranteed Hoot, when every customer is searched at the exit!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Katie Saucey Bronze badge -- Engineering school?

            I've been in shops where clearly I was setting off all the alarms with a tag somewhere they and I couldn't find, so they kindly advised me how to get out the exit from their shop with the alarm sounding, and which shops in the mall to not go into before I got my stuff home ;)

  13. Flakey

    Did I miss the part

    of the Bible that says "Thou shalt not wear a RFID tag for they are the work of satan and hell awaits those that adorn themselves with such sinful apparel" or is that only in the American version?

    1. Tank boy

      Re: Did I miss the part

      No, that's in the lawsuit chapter.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Did I miss the part

      It's written in the new, revised Conservatardpedia version.

  14. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    Please leave your freedoms at the door...

    The judge decided to tell her what her religious beliefs are and are not in order to come to the ruling. In the US judges are not not supposed to do that, they don't have authority to so it this is going to an appeal. If the appeal fails then the respect for ones religion and it's constitutional protections by Governemt will have been nullified in the US. For those who value their freedom from Gov oppression this is one to watch.

    1. Neil Greatorex
      Devil

      Re: Please leave your freedoms at the door...

      We here know, as does any fule, that religious beliefs are the work of the devil.

    2. Thorne
      Devil

      Re: Please leave your freedoms at the door...

      How much of it is her religious beliefs and how much is an excuse to not use the tag?

      She always has the option to opt out by moving schools but has chosen to use lawyers (who are a lot closer to the beast than any RFID tag)

      1. tempemeaty

        Re: Please leave your freedoms at the door...

        Any time any institution of Gov begins mandating the tagging and tracking of human beings, are you still free? How long before other agencies of Gov get the idea it's Okay, follow that precedence and then there is no other schools to run to?

    3. CyberCod
      Flame

      Re: Please leave your freedoms at the door...

      What about freedom from idiotic attention whores? Where's that to be found?

    4. Adam Connelly

      Re: Please leave your freedoms at the door...

      Apparently the girl had worn ID badges in the past, and had only complained when the RFID tags were brought in. Given that she's now being given the option to get a badge without the RFID chip, it seems a bit odd that she's still complaining about it. I suppose maybe it took the family a while to work up the courage to take this to court, but then why highlight RFID as the problem, and why wait until this scheme was being brought in to raise the concerns?

      About the cash vs casino chips vs plastic cards eroding children's ability to understand the value of money - what a load of crap. Notes and coins are just a way of representing some kind of value. How is it more difficult to understand that I have X amount available to me, when I make a transaction that amount reduces? There must be a way of checking the balance on the cards, and there will be a consequence to not having any stored credit - you can't get food. Exactly the same as cash, just without the annoyance of having to carry cash around, or folk stealing it.

      Lastly, I don't have a big problem with kids in a school being tracked inside that school. While they're in school, they're meant to be in certain places at certain times. If they aren't then why not?

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    I'm not in agreement with the "mark of the beast" argument....

    But forcing school students to wear an RFID tag or even a lanyard is creepy and intrusive. And what happens if some gawky student gets his lanyard stolen by the local bully in order to put the gawky student out? What happens if the gawky student hates his lanyard, chucks it, and then blames the loss on the local bully that had nothing to do with it?

    I can accept that there are schools that may want armed guards or metal detectors, but tracking kids like they are cattle is fascistic.....

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: I'm not in agreement with the "mark of the beast" argument....

      So what's she going to do when (or if) she gets a job and her employer gives her a rfid-enabled ID card on a lanyard? Many companies use them these days (including mine), so why's a school any different.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm not in agreement with the "mark of the beast" argument....

        > so why's a school any different.

        You have to go to school by law (unless you're home-schooled). It's a bit of a non-choice if home schooling isn't an option for you. And they're talking about introducing this RFID malarky to other neighbouring schools from what I gather.

        However, for most people, you can choose where you work.

  16. punk4evr

    But is for Kids Safty!!!!

    But what about their safety! Shouldn't there be a cop at every door. Metal Detectors as well! I mean, Read all their emails, Daily Locker Searches.....Hay why not install the air port security screeners in all schools! Yes, Police, Detectors, Cameras, Computer Monitoring.....Perhaps they should hire escorts also for every student!

    Yes... All in the Name of for the kids! Rights? You have no rights!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: But is for Kids Safty!!!!

      Perhaps they should hire escorts also for every student!"

      Yeah, great idea!!! That'll shine a whole new light on sex education in Texas.

      1. Gannon (J.) Dick

        Re: But is for Kids Safty!!!!

        Texas is Business Friendly.

        What they heard: "Perhaps they ought to hire the students out as Escorts"

  17. CyberCod
    Mushroom

    She's just enjoying the attention now. The "mark of the beast" was to be implanted in hand or forehead. Not some badge you wear around your neck. She's just being a hyper-religious nutbag, or else just milking the attention.

    I can't stand people like this.

    If you want to go to a tech school, leave Jesus at home.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Alien

      On a similar note, the "literal truth" of that Revelations quote refers to "man" and "he". No mention whatsoever of "woman" or "her".

      Looks like the ladies will all do just fine when the Rapture comes (which IIRC, in the "original" hebrew says only 400(???) people will be saved.)

  18. Herby Silver badge

    Mark of the beast problem?

    Of course, one might not have 666 embossed on the RFID tag, but wouldn't 42 being the tag (it is the answer to everything!) be just the opposite?

    In school, one needs answers after all!

    I will note that such things as RFID tags on pupils (and teachers!) would not have prevented the tragedy in Connecticut. Please refrain from comments on this part, as it would be way off topic.

  19. tom dial Silver badge
    Stop

    A nation of the risk-averse.

    A straightforward case of "my power to enforce half baked and mildly creepy controls trumps your liberty." Endorsed by the court, so it must be right. The program is a trivial corollary to intrusive airplane boarding procedures, national email slurping, and public building entry controls. All of them are designed to prevent things that already have occurred or to make it appear that risks are being addressed, irrespective of whether the countermeasure mitigates or even is related to a defined risk or whether the cost and risk are commensurate.

    San Antonio officials need to read and be required to report on, Orwell' "1984.'"

    1. Graham Wilson

      @tom dial -- Re: A nation of the risk-averse.

      Trouble is that San Antonio officials ARE already the 'Ministry of Truth'.

      Society has already been infected with these pernicious ideas or it would never have gotten this far.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "gotten"

        The word "gotten" is logically and grammatically incorrect.

        Its only acceptable use is as part of the phrase "ill-gotten gains", which is a colloquialism associated with criminals and pirates and is indicative of such people's typical lack of education and literacy. There is no justifiable reason to employ it in any other capacity.

        'Got' is already the past tense and past participle of the verb 'to get'.

        Tense is something that is taught to all primary school children at an early age. Anyone understanding this basic concept of all languages should realise that it is not necessary to mangle an existing, perfectly-adequate word.

        1. greatfog
          Headmaster

          Re: "gotten"

          The usage is rare, but still in your dictionary:

          http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/259959

  20. Deadlock Victim
    Trollface

    Wait... Wait...

    So she goes to a science and engineering school, but objects to the RFID on wacky religious grounds?

    How about expulsion for not believing in science?

  21. The Grump
    Big Brother

    You are worshiping the wrong God...

    There is no "God" except us - the leaders of your Socialist party.

    We are the God you should be praying to for everything you need - food, housing, employment, transportation. We are jealous Gods - we tolerate the worship of no other "Gods" before us. We will take away your means of making choices for yourselves - all you need to do is OBEY US. Immediately. Without question.

    We will take away your religion, your guns, your money, your hope for a better future, and YOU WILL SERVE US. No more restaurants, no more automobiles, no more grocery stores where you choose what food to buy. Barter will be punishable by re-education (we don't like to call it "torture"), and will be strictly enforced. You and your children will do what we say, every day of your lives. After death, you will be cremated, and the ashes will be used on our collective farms as fertilizer. Even in death, you will serve the State.

    As for the protesters, do the lives of those who do not serve the New Order have any value al all ? No, power must be demonstrated to the ignorant. Examples must be made, to show the ignorant the cost of failing to obey US. With Obama leading the way, we have never been closer to total goverment control of everyone, everywhere. Once religion, guns, private vehicles, and the concept of money have been destroyed, we can rewrite the world IN OUR IMAGE.

    YES WE CAN ! YES WE CAN ! YES WE CAN !

    [so this is the way freedom dies... not with a bang or a whimper, but to thunderous applause. Be careful what you wish for... you and your children may be stuck with it]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You are worshiping the wrong God...

      If you actually venture beyond the end of your city limits you might find that most developed countries don't consider "socialist" to be an insult, more a sign of a mature commerce-based society, and pretty normal as part of centrist party names.. Try Germany, Finland or Denmark for a start.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: You are worshiping the wrong God...

      This must be the first time I have ever seen *Texas* referred to as socialist! The writer had better not come to Scotland ...

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    If you take your lead in life from the book of revelations

    Then you have MUCH bigger problems than mere RFID tags.

  23. Big-nosed Pengie
    Flame

    Only In America - numbers 1,531, 1,532, 1,533 and 1,534:

    Texas school requires students to wear RFID tracking tags; said school expels student for refusing; student's objections include that the tag is "a mark of the Beast"; court upholds school's right to force students to wear them and expel said student.

  24. bag o' spanners
    Go

    Ah done read the book when ah wuz young. Those thar triffids are the devil's tumbleweeds.

  25. mhenriday
    Meh

    «...the $500,000 pilot program, which is paid for from the education budget.»

    Good to see that the «education budget [sic !]» in the sovereign state of Texas is being used to track students, rather than teach them. Had me worried there for a bit....

    Henri

  26. James 51 Silver badge

    Would sticking the thing into an empty crisp packet not reek havoc with the system?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      * wreak

      FTFY :)

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: * wreak

        I hadn't had my first cup of tea yet.

  27. Paul Hampson 1
    Paris Hilton

    Science and Engineering !=Religious extremism

    Since it was the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy can't they just expel her for her showing a complete lack of scientific and engineering aptitude?

    This wasn't a normal school why was she going there if she had such deeply irrational belief system?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure sign of mental illness.....

    "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads," the King James Bible reads. "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

    Nice story, now where is the truth?

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Sure sign of mental illness.....

      Nice intro, where are the opening chords of Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast"

  29. Mark Major
    Devil

    Guns

    They should get their priorities in order. I'm surprised they haven't issued all the kids with semi-automatic assault weapons ;) Maybe next week.

  30. andy gibson

    Bathroom issues

    Lots of speculations about the bathroom / toilet issues, so as someone who works in education I'll offer some suggestions for "bathroom" tracking:

    Toilets are the most common areas for vandalism, bullying, and general socialising - i.e. kids arranging with their mates from different classes to time their toilet trips so they can have a ten minute skive / smoke together.

    Other kids bored of lessons ask for toilet trips and go for a general wander around the school, possibly causing disruption on the way.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    666

    "Let him that hath read 'Papyrus 115' and 'Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus' know that the correct number of the beast is far more likely to be 616"

    There. Fixed that for you ;0)

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: 666

      According to Robert Heinlein, the number is more likely to be " ... 6^6^6.' Six raised to its sixth power, and the result in turn raised to its sixth power. That number is this: 1.03144+ X 10^28 – or written in full: 10,314,424,798,490,535,546,171,949,056 ..." ("The Number of the Beast" - I'm just editing an epub version.)

      1. John McCallum
        Devil

        Re: 666

        since we are wandering of topic great book but he didn't half ramble near the end/last third....

        Devil icon as that is what the bad guys look like,aparently

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very obvious

    It was obvious to most folks from the beginning that this girl had no case but in America, the Land of Litigation, when you can't get your way, you sue to try and force people to accept your distorted POV of the world.

  33. Chris Parsons

    Bathroom break!

    FFS!

  34. MissingSecurity
    Devil

    What I don't is...

    If they are so god-fearing would "John Jay Science and Engineering Academy" scream the devil. Especially if you're concerned about being "marked".

  35. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Pssst El Reg Staff

    Time to lose the "I (heart) Andrew" badges,

    It stems from the belief that the tags represent the 'the mark of the beast' quoted in the Bible's Book of Revelation 13:16-18

  36. Dom 3

    Bar codes and 666

    An explanation here:

    http://www.av1611.org/666/barcode.html

    of why many people think that every barcode contains 666 within it.

  37. Amorous Cowherder
    Happy

    " Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

    Anyone else hear "that riff" in their head after reading that line?!

  38. redxine
    Meh

    If she carries a mobile phone

    then I wonder how it'd be any different than this specialized, power-not-included radio transmitter.

    It's incidentally capable of being used for tracking in the same way your mobile reports which base stations it's in range of (and their geographic location) to your provider.

    I'd be interested to know if she carries one of these condemned tracking devices.

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