Radio frequency identification—the same technology used to monitor cattle—is tracking students in the Spring and Santa Fe school districts.
Identification badges for some students in both school districts now include tracking devices that allow campus administrators to keep tabs on students' whereabouts on campus. School leaders say the devices improve security and increase attendance rates.
"It's a wonderful asset," said Veronica Vijil, principal of Bailey Middle School in Spring, one of the campuses that introduced the high-tech badges this fall.
But some parents and privacy advocates question whether the technology could have unintended consequences. The tags remind them of George Orwell's Big Brother, and they worry that hackers could figure a way to track students after they leave school.
Identity theft and stalking could become serious concerns, some said.
"There's real questions about the security risks involved with these gadgets," said Dotty Griffith, public education director for the ACLU of Texas. "Readers can skim information. To the best of my knowledge, these things are not foolproof. We constantly see cases where people are skimming, hacking and stealing identities from sophisticated systems."