Brushing aside privacy concerns by parents and civil rights activists, a Texas school district has gone live with a controversial program requiring all students to wear a locator radio chip that will enable officials to track their every move – or face expulsion.
At the beginning of the school year students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School within the Northside Independent School District were told their old student ID badges were no longer valid. During registration they were required to obtain new badges containing a radio frequency identification tracker chip.
Students refusing the chips were reportedly threatened with suspension, fines, or being involuntary transferred. Unlike chips used by retailers to track inventory which activate when scanned by a reader, these chips contain batteries and actively broadcast a continuous signal.
On October 1, the schools went live with a program to use the chips to track the exact locations of students using the badges. The badges would even be able to tell if a student in a classroom is in his seat or somewhere else in the room.
The district’s stated reason is to help obtain funding from the state by documenting the number of students who attend the school.
WOAI television reported district spokesman Pasqual Gonzalez said the two schools have a high rate of truancy, and the district could gain $2 million in state funding by improving attendance.
According to the San Antonio newspaper, the program is expected to cost the district $526,065 to implement with annual cost of $136,005 per year to continue running the program.
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In 1921, in Boston, an activist named Urbain Ledoux—going by the moniker Mr. Zero—happened on an idea to help unemployed veterans and their families. Ledoux, leader of what he called the “Church of the Unemployed,” would “auction” off the veterans in public parks. He hoped that the stark image of such auctions—which brought to mind horrific slave auctions that some still alive at the time would have witnessed in person—would galvanize the public and help find people work.
In Boston, where one such auction took place on the Common over several days, Ledoux and the veterans were overwhelmed by public support:
Small sums of cash were given daily; free food was delivered by restaurants and bakeries; an experienced cobbler set up shop to repair the shoes of the jobless; several women volunteered to sew and clean the bed linens; furniture was donated; a local dentist announced that he would take care of any toothaches that occurred among the unemployed; and…. scores, perhaps hundreds, of Ledoux’s followers obtained jobs as a result of the auctions.
Ledoux and his supporters met a different fate in New York City—at least initially. City police refused to let Ledoux’s group serve food. When his supporters served food in Bryant Park, police moved in and beat “forty jobless men who had gathered about six elderly women distributing sandwiches, cakes and crullers in the park.” The American Civil Liberties Union launched a complaint.
And, though Ledoux stepped into the spotlight from time to time, this was largely the end of his auctioneering days.
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A federal judge has ordered a Missouri school district to unblock its web filters and give students access to sexually explicit material by the middle of March.
A US District Judge issued a preliminary junction against the Camdenton R – III School District banning them from using filtering software. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the district claiming it was deliberately restricting access to homosexual themed sites, while allowing students to view what it claims are “anti-LG BT sites that condemn homosexuality.”
In issuing its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri said the district’s custom filtering system “systematically allows access to websites expressing a negative viewpoint toward LGBT individuals by categorizing them as ‘religion,’ but filters out positive viewpoints toward LGBT issues by categorizing them as ‘sexuality.”
Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, says, “When you consider that there’s a federal law on the books that obligates school districts to ensure that their computers do not allow access to materials that might be pornographic for minors, this judge’s action — considering that — is pretty shocking.”
The ACLU’s website claims that schools cannot block LGBT sites claiming that to do so is a violation of the First Amendment. “Programs that block all LGBT content violate First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups.”
Among the sites the ACLU says students have a right to view is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The site provides a link to “It Gets Better” which is a program advocating the homosexual lifestyle founded by Dan Savage, a “gay” sex columnist.
Savage is known for his vulgar and raunchy columns. He was also responsible for “bullying” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum by creating a “Google bomb” that attached a vile sex term to the candidate’s name.
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