Forget Hall Monitors, School Investigates Tracking Students with RFID

So much for bathroom passes and hall monitors – these days it’s technology that is making the art of skipping class much more difficult for students, and we’re not just talking about security cameras. A forward-thinking school district in Connecticut is looking to crack down on wayward students, faculty and even equipment by making use of radio frequency identification (RFID) in its schools.

New Canaan Public Schools hopes to increase the efficiency of its security efforts by embedding RFID tags into student and faculty identification cards and onto various pieces of school equipment. The tags could be used to track where specific students and faculty are located throughout campus, as well as hunt down missing laptops, projectors and other school property.

SecureRF Corporation, a company specializing in secure RFID software, proposed the project to the school district. Funding for the project could come by way of a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which the company is close to finalizing.

One of the alternative uses the company has offered to the district is to enable tracking on school busses to see who uses the busses and how often. The data collected from experiments like these could be used to better budget the school funds, potentially opening up more money to underfunded areas of education, like the arts. Some district board members raised questions about privacy, but the experiments will likely be opt-in if they are given the green light.

Anyone who has driven through a toll station on a highway without having to stop to drop a few coins knows the potential for RFID to improve and optimize our everyday lives. For school officials tasked with managing hundreds of students across large campuses, technology like this could make their jobs much easier, keeping kids safer.

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