Tracking of locations cannot be done using a single technology but rather a combination of technologies which to create a tracking systems. These tracking systems can be used in locating human beings, animals and vehicles. The systems can also be used in delivering location-specific services through the use of wireless devices. The modern location tracking systems include the Geographical Information System (GIS), which is utilized in tracking large scale locations. They are essential in capturing, storing, analyzing and reporting geographic information (Burghardt, 2008). The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a device having a constellation of twenty seven satellites that orbit the Earth. Twenty four of them operate while three are extra in case of failures. The system has a receiver used to locate a minimum of four satellites and figure distances to each, and then deduce a location through trilateration. It is mainly utilized in outdoor positioning, for example, in farming, surveying, warfare and transportation (Benson, 2010).
Location tracking is also possible through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which is a tiny microchip used in tracking people, animals and goods. The microchips are battery-less, passive and can only transmit data in case it is prompted by a reader. This is achieved by transmitting radio waves that activate the radio frequency identification tag. The tag in turn, transmits information through a pre- determined frequency. The system is useful in tracking vehicles, consumer goods, animals, people and other moving objects. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is a network of numerous devices, which connect through radio frequencies. The device can pass data over radio waves hence providing users with the network in a wide range. CCTV video camera systems are also used by numerous schools in tracking students (Albrecht and McIntyre, 2005). School authorities argue that, the tracking technologies are useful in preventing truancy; they improve students’ habits and behaviors, cut down theft and increase student security. Any tracking device uses one or a combination of these technologies.
Tracking Chip Technology
Most schools are today using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip in locating students either on campus or in school zones. This idea came about due to the increased incidences of school shootings, which caused students’ injuries and deaths. Several school hazards, such as assaults among students, arson and bomb threats also make it necessary to have these tracking chips. RFID tracking chips are small computer tags having miniature antennae. They can be implanted in physical objects and measure about 0.05 by 0.05 millimeters (Bonsor, 2009). The chip has an electronic product code often read when the RFID reader emits a radio signal. Tracking chips are of two types, the active and passive chips. The active tag chip is often self- powered, thus have a longer read range than the passive chip. Data from it can be transmitted directly to a computer used in surveillance or inventory control. The passive tag chip has no battery making its read range variable.
Tracking chips are embedded in the students’ identification cards making it possible to track any location of these students at any time. The system is composed of a student’s school photo identification card that is affixed to a lanyard and is worn around the neck. Thus, the students’ whereabouts, be it in class, bathroom, rooms or any other place is known to the administrators. The technology helps in maintaining students’ school attendance through counting students and tracking equals funding (Burghardt, 2008). The technology has an immense significance for keeping students safe, since, in cases of danger, a student’s location can be identified and he/she can receive a timely help. The chips will aid in making education more effective than before because students will attend school and classes without truancy.
The tracking technology has several negative effects on the students, particularly with relation to the first and fourth amendment. The use of the RFID tracking chips violates the rights of students for freedom of association and speech (Rosen, 2012). The technology is designed to track all students’ locations and also monitor those people who students communicate with anywhere. Students’ adaptation to these tracking chips means that they accept the conditions of being controlled. Schools teach students about the world and prepare them for their future life. Tracking and monitoring these students during their development can condition their acceptance of the situation when they are monitored through their entire life. This technology can usher in a society that accepts being tracked and monitored hence putting an end to civil and privacy liberties (Burghardt, 2008).
Tracking chip technology has caused serious alarms among students as well as parents. While the technology is perfect and necessary for the schools’ administrations, students find the technology quite violating. School administration is helped tremendously in monitoring activities and whereabouts of students. The system eliminates the illegal activities like theft, shootings and assaults in school. Students get to attend school every day unless he or she has a valid reason for absence. Running of the school is much easier with the tracking system in place since there are no instances of ill-mannered students. Students have a rough time being tracked all the time (Shoval and Isaacson, 2010). Living with the knowledge that someone is watching all the time makes people uncomfortable. This denies the students their human rights of freedom both at school and out of school. The technology is extremely advantageous for security purposes; however, it denies students their rights, which is against the law. The chips also put students in dehumanizing situations, for instance, monitoring a student while in a washroom. Parents are also protesting against the use of these systems since they make their children uncomfortable and in some instances violate their religious rights (Benson, 2010). Therefore, the use of the RFID tracking chips in schools should be researched further due to the system’s intrusion of privacy and logistical effects it has on students. The deployment of a tracking technology should be withdrawn unless it is proven to be effective and entirely safe (Bonsor, 2009). Moreover, students should not be used as subjects for technological tests no matter their social and economic status; and students’ rights should always be respected.