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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bueller's Been in the Same Toilet Stall for 20 Minutes Now. Call in the SWAT Team 

A school in Sutter County, CA, is introducing today's schoolkids to the duties of citizenship in tomorrow's police state:
Angry parents, saying their children's privacy rights are being violated, have asked the board of the tiny Brittan School District to rescind a requirement that all students wear badges that monitor their whereabouts on campus using radio signals.

Located between the massive silos of Sutter Rice Co. and the Sutter Buttes, this small town has 587 kindergarten through eighth-graders who are the first public school kids in the country to be tracked on campus by such a system, which is designed to ease attendance taking and increase campus security.

"This is the only public school monitoring where children go, with kids walking around with little homing beacons," said Nicole Ozer, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer aiding several parents who oppose the badges, which students wear around their necks.

Although all students have identification badges, only seventh- and eighth-graders are being tracked in a test run, according to school officials and representatives of InCom, a Sutter-based company developing the system . . . .

[Parent Michelle] Tatro said when her 13-year-old daughter came home from the first day of school in January, when the students began wearing the tags, she had waved the tag in her fist and said, "Look at this. I'm a grocery item. I'm a piece of meat. I'm an orange."

Their daughter was threatened with disciplinary action if she did not participate in the program, according to a letter sent by the district.

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