Student badges equipped with tracking devices

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by Tiffany Craig/11 News

khou.com

Posted on October 1, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 1 at 6:50 PM

SANTA FE— Students in Santa Fe have to wear ID badges to class, complete with a built-in tracking device.

The Smart Badge program started this school year, and is getting mixed reviews from parents and students.

Patrick Mann is a senior and said he feels like he’s in prison.

“Normally, the one people you would track are say prisoners or somebody that’s done something very wrong,” Mann said.

All students at Santa Fe Junior High and Santa Fe High School have to wear the radio frequency IDs.

The sensors are in the ceiling on campus, but Mann said they keep tabs of you off campus too.

He said he got busted a few days ago.

“At that Shell Station, they can see exactly where I am,” Mann said.  “I know that because the school cops came up there and said,
‘Hey, you need to get back to school. We tracked you over here.’”

The Santa Fe Independent School District got the idea from Spring ISD.

Spokesperson Patti Hanssard said the bottom line is safety and security.

“I don’t understand the concern piece there because basically that is our responsibility, to make sure that we have a safe and secure environment,” Hanssard said.

If students forget their badge, a temporary ID is $1 a day.

Replacement cards are $15 and the money goes back into the program, Hanssard said.

One parent said she just doesn’t like the school tracking her son’s every move.

Letters were sent home about the new badges and an update was printed in the district’s newsletter.

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