Editorial: Tracking students goes too far

Published 9:45 am Monday, October 22, 2012

San Antonio Public Schools is providing the most recent case where “nanny state” rules are simply going too far.

The Texas school district announced earlier this year it would require students to carry new student IDs containing tracking devices in order to stem a rising truancy trend, which supposedly wreaked havoc on the district’s funding. While it’s important to report the correct amount of students to a state’s Department of Education and students should be held accountable for missing out on a much-needed education, we believe there must be another way to approach such a problem.

Students need to know they have rights, even if those rights are limited on school property. They must feel their education is worthwhile and not forced, and they must feel empowered by the education they receive if they’re going to put it to good use.

Email newsletter signup

Having school officials track where your children are is wrong on more levels than one editorial can address. Aside from the questionable invasion of privacy and the negative, punitive efforts to enforce school attendance, such a move would arguably make it easier for those students as adults to accept government-sanctioned tracking devices (and not just the ping from your cell phone) if such a measure were ever introduced.

Worst of all, the initiative doesn’t teach personal responsibility for your education. It doesn’t teach a student the reason why they attend school in the first place: so they can enlighten themselves, so they can grow as academics and as responsible citizens, and so they can feel proud when they contribute to their community once they graduate from school.

Thankfully, there are no schools in Minnesota we know of that approves of such a measure, least of all our own Albert Lea Area Schools. We hope local school officials and Albert Lea residents disregard any such notion as the folly it is.