Thursday, February 10, 2005

This Should Have Been Handled Differently

Joanne Jacobs is reporting that Brittan Elementary School, near Yuba City, is the first school in California to require students to wear "radio-tracking" identification badges.

For the past few weeks, the school's seventh and eighth-graders have been wearing the badges-- called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) around their necks.

If we set aside the ethical questions of whether or not kids should be electronically "tracked," this is the part that concerns us most:

The badges were issued to students without parents' knowledge or consent.

"I never heard of RFID until my kid came home wearing it,'' said Michele Tatro, whose daughter Lauren, 13, is in eighth grade."

To date, there have been some twelve formal complaints filed regarding the devices. Principal Earnie Graham doesn't see much of a problem. He said that parent concerns are "overblown."

Principal Graham misses the point. It's the fact that the parents were not included in the decision-making process and were kept "in the dark" that has generated the most resentment.

Parental involvement and participation are one of the key elements necessary in order to have a successful educational program. It's counterproductive (to say the least) to exclude them.

As the parent of the 13-year-old TeenWonk, I would be upset if she came home from school with one of those things around her neck without any advance notification.

Nobody likes being blindsided.