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No plans now to track Abilene students with RFID cards

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 07:08:09 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 11 2012 08:04:48 PM CST
ABILENE, TX -

Big brother is watching students at two schools in San Antonio.

Radio frequency tracking chips are inside ID cards at John Jay High School and Anson Middle School. The big question is: could this same technology come to Abilene schools? School district leaders say the tracking devices are meant to maximize attendance. 

We spoke with Abilene ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Burns to find out if the cards are coming here.

"At this point I have no interest in introducing the technology that has the potential to track or monitor students," said Burns.

It's the students who are affected most. We asked a few how they would feel if the new ID cards came to Abilene.

Senior Abilene High School student Emily Robertson said, "I don't think that would go over very well because most people don't wear their IDs. They could just wear someone else's ID  or could hide it."

"San Antonio, since it's bigger, it be better to do something like that there," said Senior Abilene High School student Preslie Gretillat. "That's a lot of kids to keep up with. So it might work."

Junior Abilene High School student Meagan Macke said, "Some of us have GPS trackers on our phones by our parents and that's weird enough. These aren't our parents, so it's just weird."

In San Antonio, a Northside ISD spokesman says the two campuses where the chips were implemented have high truancy and tardiness. The district could get more state funding if their attendance improves.

Last time we spoke to the Abilene ISD they told us, for the 2011-2012 school year, Abilene High School reported 95.5% attendance for students enrolled and 95.8% district wide. For the first six weeks of the 2012-2013 school year, AHS reported one percent down at 94.5% for students enrolled and 95.7% district wide.