Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shucking the mark of the beast

How ironic it was that Northside ISD in San Antonio decided to put radio tracking devices on students' ID badges.

It's hard to believe that in that same city over 175 years ago a ragged band of Texians and other settlers decided that freedom from Mexican tyranny was worth dying for. (We'll just forget about the part where the Mexican government had declared that slavery was illegal over the objections of large landowners in modern-day Texas.)

Andrea Hernandez decided not to wear the device. She based her decision on religious principle. To Ms. Hernandez, the badge was the equivalent to the mark of the beast found in Revelations. I don't know what that makes driver's licenses and smart phones, but that's another topic for another day.

She wasn't the first student to rebel over the school district's plan to obliterate the concept of privacy on campus. But she was the one the school district decided to go after when she took off the badge and refused to put it back on. Northside ISD decided it's only recourse was to expel her from school.

That's right. There is no indication that Ms. Hernandez was a disciplinary problem. There is no indication that she's not a good student. So, because she rebels against an edict that violates her religious beliefs, we must kick her to the curb and get her out of the school. What an example we are setting for the other students.

This nation (and this state) were founded because a group of folks stood up when they felt they were being wronged. They made noise. They caused problems. They questioned authority. They listened to their consciences.

And now, in the name of keeping tabs on every single student on one campus, a cabal of so-called educators is doing its best to squelch out any dissent. Just why does the school administration need to know who's in the restroom and who's in the lunchroom and who's in the stairwell with a member of the opposite sex? Our schools are slowly becoming police states in what would appear to be an attempt to socialize our young folks with the attitude that authority must, without question, be obeyed.

Mr. [John] Whitehead said student tagging and locating projects were the first step in producing a "compliant citizenry". 
"These 'student locator' programmes are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email will be watched by the government," he said.

No, children are not adults. No students don't have the same degree of privacy on a school campus as they would at home. But at some point we must draw a line. At some point we must stand up and say that enough is enough. Students deserve a certain degree of privacy. And that degree of privacy must trump a school adminstrator's desire to track their every move.

While I may find the source of Ms. Hernandez' opposition to the ID badges comical, I do salute her for standing up for what she believes. Her parents should be proud of the daughter they've raised.

Now we can only wait and see if a court values the right of a student to seek redress of her grievances over the insatiable desire of the state to control our each and every movement.

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