In a move that sounds like something out of a frightening dystopian fiction, a school in New Zealand has come under intense criticism from parents for attempting to introduce a scheme to tag children with microchips in order to promote good behaviour.
Fairfax Media reports that Swannanoa School in North Canterbury plans to attach chipped bracelets to students to track their behaviour. Many parents were not notified of the scheme, only finding out about it via minutes from a Parent Teacher Association meeting.
When the local media investigated the proposal, the school finally sent out notifications to parents. A letter from the principal suggested that the plan was more efficient than alternatives such as ID cards, which could be misplaced.
The school has even gone as far as measuring up the wrists of children in preparation for the plan, which it says will cost $7000 to set up.
Under the proposal, the devices locked to kids’ arms would allow teachers to use portable scanners in order to add reward points to a student’s good behaviour record, stored on a database. Students would be rewarded points when they did something teachers determined to be positive, and incentives would be enhanced with the promise of prizes for reaching a certain amount of points.
The chips would contain information including names, points tally and the school house that students belonged to. The school claims that the devices would not have a GPS tracker.
Naturally, parents are outraged at the scheme, which is otherwise literally employed in prisons and to monitor the whereabouts and activities of offenders, or those on parole.
“I don’t like the idea of my children being scanned,” said mother of two Emma Goodin, adding that she does not want her children “treated like grocery items or criminals”.
“If it’s just for good behaviour, why would you invest that much money in it?” commented Liz Rutherford, another mother who has also vowed to remove her children from the school should the plan go ahead.
When notified of the proposal, a government Education Ministry spokesperson told reporters that “Individual schools decide how to encourage good behaviour in consultation with their community.”
In a poll accompanying the Fairfax media report, over 83 percent of respondents said they would remove their children from a school introducing such a scheme. Just 16 percent said they thought it was a good idea or would go along with it.
Infowars has previously reported on similar stories of schools in the US attempting to introduce such schemes. In 2013, a Texas family whose daughter was expelled for refusing to wear an RFID tracking chip fought the scheme in the courts and was eventually victorious as the school scrapped the system.
In our report covering that case, we noted how several other schools around the nation have also attempted to use various chipping and tracking methods, including biometric technology. Bracelets such as the ones touted by the New Zealand school are now routinely used in theme parks and at events such as concerts to store digital currency, making payment for items and entrance to restricted areas quicker.
However, the personalization of such technology, and the use of it to specifically monitor an individual is highly invasive and should be considered a significant threat to privacy. When there is a debate over whether even incarcerated criminals should be subjected to it’s use, one must ask why are there moves to employ it in schools?
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.