An old friend, lawyer John Whitehead, reports on an insidious new program.
School officials in Bay Shore, Long Island (New York) recently purchased eight “Polar Active” monitoring devices to electronically monitor students. Schools in St. Louis and South Orange, New Jersey, are doing likewise. Bay Shore superintendent Peter Dion says the devices inform or motivate students by giving them immediate feedback about their fitness.
But John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, says schools “attaching devices to people, tracking their vital signs, and watching … what they eat and what they’re doing, which is really none of anybody’s business,” is comparable to an electronic concentration camp. “Even with parental approval on this, I think this is still a very dangerous way to go.”
He says he is fearful for the future of these and other students “because what they’re being taught is the government can do this. And at the same time, the schools are not teaching the Bill of Rights to kids so that they know that they can object to this,” he notes. “So what we’re doing is we’re teaching a whole new generation of people that this is what the government can do and should do.”
The proper questions are these: What will the school do with all this information. Where will it be stored? For how long? Who will have access to it? Why?
Bay Shore officials have released a statement to assure that “no electronic information is kept, uploaded, or transferred to any record.” However, critics who want to know where such monitoring will end are questioning how long the school will retain the information, whether insurance companies will have access to the data, etc.
As the price of this technology falls, more schools will adopt it.
Will parents protest? A few will. Most won’t. They are used to such controls, “to protect the children.”