Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

I Am Not a Student, I Am a Number 518

PapaZit writes "Students in Ruston, Louisiana are being forced to wear ID badges that include their Social Security Numbers in barcode form. The encoding format is simple enough that students have been reading the SSNs of other students, teachers, and administrators, and they're threatening to publish this information if they're not granted a more private ID system. " Granted, students all across the US are being forced to wear ID tags - but this is one of the most egregious ones I've heard about yet.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

I Am Not a Student, I Am a Number

Comments Filter:
  • This is the same state that legislated courtesy. So when they threaten to expose the numbers they have to say sir or maam.
  • How's this new? RIT [rit.edu] was doing that years ago when I was going there, the student ID card had it in barcode form *and* plain text right on the card. They simply tacked a 0-9 onto the end of it for the number of times you'd lost your ID card.

    I was more upset when I found that my heathplan number was my social security number. They already know too much about me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    File a formal complaint with the Social Security Admnistration. They have, in the past, investigated such uses and "encouraged" correction of such practices.
  • by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <twaffle@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:37AM (#1660755) Homepage
    After reading this, I've come to an opinion. I KNOW that this is not the ONLY location that uses an SSN like this, but, we have to start somewhere.

    Right now, these guys are being treated 'like they're just some dumb kids', and no matter what they do, they will most likely not make a difference.. They may, simply becouse they have a 'weapon' of sorts, but they shouldn't have to revert to this to be listened to..

    I say we get as much data regarding this school, preferably email addresses due to the electronic nature of slashdot, and put the /. effect to good use..

    They may not listen to the kids, but they will HAVE to listen to an overwhelming outcry by the public..
  • Its a good thing its not a tattoo. That would be a patent violation. :-)

    yes I know it wouldn't because its not being used for a commericial transaction, but then that wouldn't be funny would it?

  • What I wonder is how ling it will be before the students start printing their own barcodes to screw with the readers (if any yet)

    One of the girls mentioned in the article has already done it - hers says 911

  • So far, this has not happened in my daughter's school. But I make this very solemn oath: If they try to make her wear ANY kind of identity badge, I will draw the line there - You can try and take my freedom, but YOU WILL NOT TAKE THE FREEDOM OF MY CHILDREN.

    I have a good life, a good job, a nice house - a lot of nice things to give up, this is what the system generally depends on to keep us in our place. However, I WILL risk all of that to ensure that freedom is not destroyed. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave - don't forget that you fucking pale slugs. I will fight, using my mind, not weapons. (Unless you fukkerz draw the first weapon, then there ain't no going back)

    A good all-out rebellion is the best thing that could happen to this country. Like when you take a blasting, diarrheaic shit to get rid of unwanted waste. We are turning stagnant. It stinks!

    I think the slothful-ones had better reckon that concept - never NEVER NEVER expect to let a wild animal allow you to take food from it's children, or to fuck with it in any other way. It's the same thing here... Better remember that - it's like the saying about trying to tightly grip a wet bar of soap - it'll fly right outa your hands!

  • by Rolan ( 20257 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:25PM (#1660760) Homepage Journal
    The article has a link to the school's policy/web page [latech.edu].

    The office's phone number is:

    Randy Moore - Principal
    David Crowe - Assistant Principal
    Thomas Hay - Assistant Principal
    Glenda Smith - Assistant Principal

    I was unable to find any e-mail addresses. But as one that lives in LA, it dosen't suprise me. Most school administration is behind the times. :) I'm continuing the search for e-mails. :)

    Searching people.yahoo.com came up with a few interesting records. And if you have some money to spend you could really find out a lot about this adminstration (IE anything in public records). I will not post the info here, because e-mailing is one thing, calling a person at home is different.

    "ID Card Policy:

    All Ruston High School students must have an I.D. card. The cost of the card is included in the school fee. The card will be
    coded for such things as:(1) class/grade (2) voting purposes (3) period(s) dismissed from school for work or part-time status
    (4) monthly lunch purchases.


    1. This I.D. card is to identify Ruston High School students, to insure the identification process in student management, and for
    control of visitors and unauthorized intruders on campus.

    2. The I.D. card must be in the possession of the student at all times while at school, and penalties for non-possession will range
    from a detention assignment for a first violation, to suspension from school for later or major violations. Refusal to submit I.D.
    card is an automatic suspension, effective immediately.

    3. Requirements for I.D. before participation:

    a. check out library books
    b. purchase student tickets to athletic events
    c. check in and out of school
    d. submit with hall pass (telephone, restroom, locker, etc.)
    e. voting in school elections
    f. admission to dances and student sections for athletic events
    4. The I.D. card is non-transferable. Illegal use of I.D. card not belonging to the student is a suspension offense and can be
    considered fraud or theft resulting in disciplinary action to the user and owner.

    5. If this card is lost, damaged, or stolen, it is the student's responsibility to replace it immediately at a cost of $2.00.

    6. Students scheduled to leave campus must have I.D. punched in the appropriate places."
  • You can see it on sun's web site.

    I recently got myself Java certified. One of the cool things about that is that your clients can check Sun's database [hibbertco.com] to see if your really certified. Except, oops, your student ID is your SSN. And, hey, check it out, once you've entered the SSN you can change all my personal data, too.

    No, I'm not telling you my student ID so you can test it out.

  • Coda: You're opinions are supposed to be backed up with a fact or two. How about telling us why the Church of Scientology would want to mislead anyone about the educational system? What reason do they have?
    I personally don't give a flying fsck who published it as long as the research is there. The bibliography is in the back of the pamphlet.

    Flying fsck-- that's when it's really fast?

  • > SSN numbers are not private. What could happen when someone transposes a number on a form, puts in a wrong SSN number in a database or gives a false SSN number?

    You mean like when the IRS sent a refund check to me for the amount that my sister should have gotten?

    All they did was typo a digit. Took quite a few
    letters to resolve too.

  • Leave the Swiss out of this.
  • The information contained in the "What to do when they ask for your Social Security Number" site is not entirely accurate.

    For example, the site refers to the IRS having a separate court system. Sure, nearly every federal agency has an administrative court system with administrative law judges (ALJs). The information that is missing is that an ALJ's determination is appealable to a federal district court (and so on up through the regular court system).
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tmsNO@SPAMinfamous.net> on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:29PM (#1660768) Homepage
    Did the students mind? NO. It actaully helped them to feel SAFE.
    What no one seems to understand is that feeling safe and being safe are two entirely different things.

    Police states make you feel safe. So long, of course as the Village Commitee doesn't brand you Unmutual.

    What actually makes you safe is ordinary people with the means to protect themselves and the willingness to assist and protect each other, even at risk to themselves.

  • My school makes us wear id 'tags' around our necks, or clipped onto our shirts. They claim it will allow them to spot individuals who don't belong there. Ok, I'll give them that. But if some idiot is going to shoot up a school, telling them to stop or get out isn't going to do much.

    On Wednesday of this week they had a staff meeting and they were talking about setting up road blocks and what not around the school so that the police can stop you and search your car for no reason. No probable cause. Now it seems to me that that kind of thing is illegal.

    Furthermore, if they search you with probable cause, like say for...a knife, if they find something that they aren't looking for, like say...marijuana, then they can haul you in for it. I believe that, too, is illegal.

    And, if that's not enough, they want to give the police authorization to come into the school whenever they would like and give citations for anything they might not like. Maybe a controversial T-shirt. With that citation comes a $50 dollar fine. If you don't pay it, obviously, you go to court.

    So the point of my big rant here... is that the government is slowly taking away our rights, privacy, etc. in the name of a safer nation. So that we might be protected. Protected from what? Being searched for no reason is not protection. And if people don't keep speaking up, we may wake up someday soon to find ourselves in a 1984-type state. We are most definitely heading that way now.

    BTW: That's pretty neat. My school ID is also code 39.

  • Yes-- private schools can be just as bad. A parent really has to be involved to make sure that their child isn't being indoctrinated against their wishes!

  • by Electric Mollusk ( 34199 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:29PM (#1660771)
    Just like it says.

    I spent twelve years dealing with the exact same crap these kids are going through now. It takes very little to realise that the system doesn't work.

    1. Kids enjoy learning. It's a simple fact that children are curious about the world they live in, and fully willing to go out to experience it. What public education does is take these eager young children; prop them up in a desk; and force them to sit down, shut the hell up, and "learn" exactly what teachers decide they should learn. This stifles the creative process in many obvious ways, in addition to crushing the students' free-will. Students may memorize what they are told, and no more for the duration of the day, and speak only when told.

    2. Students are treated like robots. This is easily exemplified in the recent high-school Orwellian incident of bar-coding students with their SSNs. Humans cannot live under such a strictly regimented schedule in which they as individuals are given second priority to the class as a whole. Speak when you're told. Do what you're told. This is when you do this. Don't question your teacher. The 8 good hours of the day wasted, and more at home with homework and studying for 12 years. Who here believes that conditioning a child to meekly accept what he/she is taught without questioning is a good thing? Hell, I'm not even talking about high school. By that time we're completely crushed.

    3. Advancement is based on age. This defies common sense. Quick children are forced to idle while slow children hold them back.

    4. Class requirements are communist. After an extent, forcing all children to learn the same things (true with very minor exeception through high school) is ridiculous. Some people aren't tooled for math, and some people aren't tooled for english. And there it is. After the basics. It's plain to see that an English major is not going to need trigonometry; regardless, we're all forced to learn it.

    5. The perception that college (and even the latter years of high school) is mandatory. Not everyone should be going to college. In the past, higher learning has been a noble thing, but for scholars. I look around myself at university today and see drugged-out, ignorant jocks attending higher learning only because it's socially required to do so. They don't want to learn. They won't use what little knowledge they accidentally glean from this place. They will pollute the work force. Only bad things can come from socially forcing everyone to attend college.

    6. Smart people are discriminated against. Everyone knows this from the Hellmouth incident discussions (not to advocate the Hellmouth incident). Homework is communistically enforced regardless of necessity ("responsibility is part of learning" -- bullshit. "Do what you're damn told so we don't have to evaluate you individually" is more accurate). Students must attend class whether or not they understand the topics. The effect is that an incredible amount of stress is placed on everyone. Nobody accepts orders to this extent without some side-effects. These are, but not limited to: bullying others (the strong-willed), becoming a robot (the weak-willed), and assassinating fellow students (the creatively stifled).

    What it all basically boils down to is that it's human to resist orders. A child's parents should provide discipline; it is natural for kids to accept instruction from the ones they love; faceless authority should not. Kids are deprived of freedom, learning ability (and incentive), and crushed spiritually into the droning workforce.

    I haven't experienced alternate countries' versions of public education, but I can't imagine they could be much better. I propose a complete overhaul: kids are evaluated based on individual learning progress. Throw them in a room with a teacher, give access to internet boxes, other references and the experimental possibilities and let them go at it. This is intermingled with instruction as to basics, but children should be allowed to pursue more or less of a topic as inclined. Teachers are there to answer questions, help with resources, and provide inspiration. After introductory basics have been provided (with minimal attendance policy, no required homework, and no compulsion to sit down and shut up like a robot -- grading is based on tests), the system becomes entirely a "show that you have learned anything" one instead of a "show that you have memorized and can parrot this" one. Those not inclined to learn further go wherever they want to go.

    My changes are radical, but the fact is that children are broken in the US' public education system. This directly leads to the pitiful, uncaring workforce we have today. In drastic cases, it leads to Hellmouth. Humans can't accept two sets of parents.

    Thanks for being an outlet.

  • Schools are turning into prisons. Who cares if the kids learn anything - they're not out on the streets causing trouble. I think it really would save the taxpayers money if we just went ahead and merged public schools with juvies and state prisons. But that would be acknowledging the future, and we can't have that. Public education is education of last resort. If you really want your child to learn, you'll have to hire a private school, hire a private tutor, or do it yourself.
  • Ah, yes, the information and what can be had from a social security number. A few years ago, I did an internet search on information wholesalers (see alt.2600) and decided to try out a free demo account. Its for employers to screen potential employees and such and they stated the information provided by the demo was just representative and a demo. All that was required was a tax id and personal information for the person doing the search.

    Well, I tried it out with my social security number for my credit record, driving history, etc., and the numbers and information matched exactly. I found out this was no demo, it was the real thing. I had the chance to see what I look like to the beancounters.

    I think it should be everyone's responsibility to try this out and expose how freely information is sold.
  • The article, and the policy it links to, states that these cards are also used to track meal purchases in the school cafeteria. Since it is so trivial to read, and hence create these barcodes, it would be easy to charge your lunch to someone elses account.

    Now if every student in the school changed their barcode to that of the principal, or another staff member, I'll bet the principal would look to change the system fast. Either that, or they would just expell every student in the school...

  • by techt ( 87303 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:35PM (#1660780)
    IANAL, but this school's action may be in violation of the Privacy Act of 1974. The following was snipped from Fact Sheet # 10: Your Social Security Number: How Secure Is It? at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse [privacyrights.org]:

    Schools that receive federal funding must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in order to retain their funding (FERPA, also known as the "Buckley Amendment," enacted in 1974, 20 USC 1232g). One of FERPA's provisions requires written consent for the release of educational records or personally identifiable information, with some exceptions. The courts have stated that Social Security numbers fall within this provision.

    FERPA applies to state colleges, universities and technical schools that receive federal funding. An argument can be made that if such a school displays students' SSNs on identification cards or distributes class rosters or grades listings containing SSNs, it would be a release of personally identifiable information, violating FERPA. However, many schools and universities have not interpreted the law this way and continue to use SSNs as a student identifier. To succeed in obtaining an alternate number to the SSN, you will probably need to be persistent and cite the law. Social Security numbers may be obtained by
    colleges and universities for students who have university jobs and/or receive federal financial aid. (The FERPA text can be found at the web,
    www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ferpa.buckley.html .)

    Public schools, colleges and universities that ask for your SSN fall within the provisions of another federal law, the Privacy Act of 1974. This act requires such schools to provide a disclosure statement telling students how the Social Security number is used. If you are required to provide your SSN, be sure to look for the school's disclosure statement. If one is not offered, you may want to file a complaint with the school, citing the Privacy Act.

    When the school is a private institution, your only recourse is to work with the administration to change the policy or at least to let you use an alternate identification number as your student ID.
  • I don't see what is wrong with metal detectors. Do you think children should be allowed to bring firearms to school? Or can you think of a better way to keep them from bringing guns to school? Perhaps in your neighborhood this is not an issue, but in many places it is.

    Not that is should be an issue, but schools have to do the best they can in the society they are stuck in.

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:38PM (#1660784)
    Just FYI - you don't need to give them your real SSN. I never give my SSN out to anybody besides my bank,my employer(s), and the IRS. Anybody else who wants it can take an H2SO4 enema you-know-where.

    It may not be legal, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sacrifice my privacy because a bunch of neanderthals can't figure out a better way to track me. I like to be able to choose anonymity. I avoid and detest any organization that attempts to impede my right to anonymity.


  • by drwiii ( 434 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:39PM (#1660791)
    This is interesting, because when I was in public school, our school ID number was in the form of "xxx-xx-xxxx", the same as an SSN. The number itself wasn't an SSN, however. You could get people's SSN (and much more) just by sneaking into the guidance counselor's office while he was out to lunch, logging on to his terminal with the username and password he had written down and hidden under his monitor, and pulling records from the school system's database using the school-issued ID number.

    My friend once swiped what had to be at least 100 printed pages of student information, which included their phone numbers, addresses, and lots of other personal information. Just remember that the next time you register at a public school.

    I used to carry a fake school ID that I made with the help of my trusty dot matrix printer, a picture of some teenage white kid i cut out of a magazine in art class, and the new lamination machine in the school's printing shop. Well, one day I got busted for cutting class. They set up a "sting operation" of sorts and caught about 10 people leaving out of a back door. They confiscated everyone's ID and made everyone stay in a staff conference room while they used the ID cards to notify our parents. I sat there for about 3 minutes until I realized that they had my fake ID, at which point I made a quick exit from the conference room, and then, the building. I really hope they didn't call the parents of the person with the ID number on my fake card, because the ID number was that of my friend's biology teacher, whose ID he managed to photocopy for me a few days prior to the making of the fake ID.

    Oh yeah, that Bio teacher used to keep a stash of hard core pornography above one of the cabinets in his classroom. Using a master key that he took from one of the shop teachers, my friend managed to make off with like 3 magazines and a videotape full of porn one day before school started. Let's hear it for public schools!

    I don't think I learned anything in that school. Fortunately.

  • > Of course, most lefties are too busy working to change the world, and don't have the money to
    > hire armies to do it for them. :-b

    I don't think this is an issue of left or right. Mainly because this is a tactic used by both sides of that particular coin (the one with the head of Stalin on one side and the head of Hitler on the other - Communism and Fascism - left-wing and right-wing dictatorships).

    Funny that "liberal" used to mean roughly what "libertarian" means now. Now "liberal" is a short form of "liberal application of government". I doubt you'll see any conservatives supporting this measure by this school and, if there are any, they're in one of two camps: either they're lazy bastards too complacent to stand up and fight for their liberty, or they're sheep deserving of slaughter.

    Bah. I want to form my own nation.

  • Technically, the IRS dosen't use your SSN, they use your Tax ID number. It happens that if you have an SSN, then it is also your Tax ID number, but corporations and non-citizens can have Tax-ID numbers without having SSNs.
  • Found some moreHere [portlandporcupine.com] This is the site of Rachel W. I belive she is the one that was intervied in the article. :) NOTE: It appears the principals have changed since their school web page was updated.

    Louisiana Governor Mike Foster
    Office of the Governor
    ATTN:Constituent Services
    P.O. Box 94004
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004
    FAX (225)342-7099
    Email: http://www.gov.state.la.us/governor/ contact2.htm [state.la.us]

    Ruston Mayoral Office
    ATTN:Mayor Dan Hollingsworth
    401 N. Trenton Street
    Ruston, Louisiana 71270

    Ruston High School
    ATTN:Principal Dr. Charles Scriber
    900 Bearcat Drive
    Ruston, Louisiana 71270

    Lincoln Parish School Board
    ATTN: Superintendant Dr. Gerald Cobb
    ATTN: Assistant Superintendant Mr. Ronnie Suggs
    410 S. Farmerville Street
    Ruston, Louisiana 71270
    Phone (138)255-1430
    FAX (318)255-0468
  • Its not how much Pepsi paid, but how how much are the kickbacks the responsible party is getting. They are cheap bastards. They need to lose the ability to father or mother children.
  • > I was fully behind the kids on this issue until I saw that they're not being
    > forced to display their SSN, and saw that many parties are upset with the
    > idea that the school would want you to wear a name tag.

    That is not the point. What you describe is an "opt-out" system, where the student has to make the effort to avoid having their information illegally used.

    Do you also support spam, as long as there's a valid "remove" address?

    (Personally, I think the "point" is the forcible erosion of personal freedoms by a (government-mandated) institution of learning.)
  • This does sound like school. It's a system designed to make sheep. An educated population of free & independent thinkers is extremly dificult to controll...they have this annoying tendancy to ask questions.

    If you wish to change a system, you start with the young. The technology exists to make a world Orwell couldn't have dreamed of..not in his worst nightmares, and there is effort being made to take us in that direction..all for profit, of course. Whats a few human lives compared to the holy bottom line?
  • While I have no problem with metal detectors per se, I don't see why they're being seen as a security measure after Columbine. If they had metal detectors in that school, it would've done absolutely no good. The kids had their guns in their hands. When they went through the metal detectors, that would've set off the alarm, letting everybody know they had guns. However, since the guns were in their hands and being fired, everybody already knew that. The metal detectors would be somewhat of a redundancy, and would not have done anything to avert the tragedy. Either would transparent bookbags, since, well, the guns weren't in the bookbags.
  • given a transparent backpack, and a desire to carry a firearm into school, I'd use the trusty-old hollowed out book.

    What's next? Transparent books? Knowing our government, probably.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • The University of Oklahoma has your social security number as your student, faculty, or staff id and it is printed on your card in plain text and in the magnetic strip on the back. Also, your computer services username is the first four letters of your last name concatenated with the last four digits of your id number. There are some provisions for changing your OU ID number but by default, the above system is it. The state of Oklahoma also uses your Social Security number as your driver's license number although there are provisions for being assigned a different number.
  • Uhhh... I just read a link to the RHS rulebook, and its like, really extreme. Is this really normal??? Dress codes specifying shorts with inches abovethe knee??? In the UK they gave up with this kind of stuff in the 80's, by and large, because the teachers could never keep up with the kids (including me).

    Now of course, the UK is at the forefront of american-isation (anglo-saxon imperialism, laissez faire, whatever..), and I would applaud French ideals in this area (lets not forget where the idea of civil rights came from), but even Tony Blair wouldn't dare go this far for police powers, let alone those of teachers.

    Everybody wearing a barcode with their SSN... ohmygod. Even working for the nuclear company wasn't that bad, and they had good cause. In Europe you can walk into most nuclear facilities with less security, and I'm talking neutron beams here! Other posters may comment about swedes and their person numbers, but the thing is, the idea hat someone might abuse them is a *lot* less credbile in Sweden, I mean these guys are just ludicrously polite. This kind of attitude, at a school, is tantamount to child abuse. It just minimises peoples expectations of their fellow man, and impoverishes society at large.

    In European institutions that try to implement something scary out of administrative convenience, they would not have the efficiency to be really scary (I'm thinking especially of universities here).

    But seriously, we need to effect a CULTURAL CHANGE here. That's the social engineering project, but the question is, how do we do it?

    Some ideas:
    1) Be cool to eachother
    2) Live with the inexcusable, on the understanding that, in the end, you'll get everything that's coming to you, and so will everybody else.
    3) Express incredulity at this kind of behaviour, not acceptance, make your views known, and then POLITELY switch to an alternative if available, or create one if not. (ie cost them face)
    4) Live your ideals, and encourage others in them and to follow them (without evangelising).

    Anyvody else got any positive ideas for "liberalising" the situation?
  • You pose the most direct question, which if I may simplify, seems to be:

    Well if schools are dangerous, then isn't it reasonable to take steps to make it safer?

    My answer to that question, is with more questions:

    Is school really dangerous?

    Are the steps being taken really reducing school violence?

    What are we giving up in exchange for this reduced risk and is it worth it?

    So first, a pithy quote:

    "Those who would sacrifice freedom for safety, deserve neither."

    If I was a student at a school that really was dangerous. That is to say that there was active violence and mayhem on school grounds. I would certainly appreciate it if the administration started taking steps to reduce said violence. However, I would also immediately start seeking out other options for my education. It seems doubtful to me that useful education could take place in an environment where one is in constant fear, or in one with Gestapo like repression of the student population.

    However, my real point, was an attempt to attack the blanket denial of common freedoms to juveniles in this country. For example, most people observe that in the criminal justice system kids seem to get better treatment than adults do. But, in reality, kids are denied many rights that adults take for granted. Such as the right to a jury trial. Moreover there is a whole class of behavior that if comited as a child can land you in the clink, i.e. truancy, sexual intercourse, giving your parents a hard time, which adults are completely free off.

    Basically I was just referring to this strong environmental dissonance I felt while in school. That is, we live in a country that celebrates individual freedom. But, we are taught about this in an institution that observes the opposite values.
  • Or maybe use his home address:

    Charles R Scriber
    3208 English Turn, Ruston, LA

    Still looking for an email address...
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @01:00PM (#1660857) Homepage
    You think this is bad? Nearly one year ago I moved to Sweden. Every swede has a so called personnumber which is formatted like yymmdd-xxxx (your birtday + four digits). Without it you are lost. You can't do anything in sweden without a person number. Swedes are really clueless about it I always have lots of fun when I have to show my dutch passport. First they spent a few minutes looking at the passport. When they start looking really confused I explain them that it is not a swedish passport (duh) and therefore my personnumber cannot be found in it.

    Basically you can't open a bankaccount, can't get phone in your house, can't rent a fucking video tape without a personnumber in this country. Luckily I got one since I have a job in this country and have to pay (a lot) taxes.

    A dutch friend of me who also lives here teaches database courses. One of the standard things he has to teach his students is not to use the perssonnumber as a primary key. Unfortunately they don't listen and most databases in this country use perssonnumber as a primary key so you have a lot of trouble fitting in to the system if you don't have one.

    If you want to read more about the personnumber I have a nice link
    here [tfh-berlin.de].
  • And when was the last time you heard of a student massacre in Canada?

    Earlier this year, in Alberta.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • The Pepsi advertisement really bothers me.

    I would like to see mandatory (listen a sec) classes on The Media in High School. (I am quite happy personally that /. recently added a "media" heading) Classes on how, they, as consumers, are targetted by media companies, and have been since they were young (4 or so). How products are constantly put in front of their faces, just because repetition works so well. How, basically, three men, control to some degree every image they see from billboards to motion pictures. There's some interesting stuff there. As media moves onto the 'Net it will come more and more into peoples lives. You've already seen it. This stuff is expensive. This Internet. They gotta sell something to pay for it. Anyway, this was slightly off-topic, ranty, and my $.02. Have a good weekend.
  • I don't know how other universities get around this, but here at tech nobody uses their SSN for anything, they use their student ID. Of course 99% of the time the student ID is their SSN (since the SSN is the default student ID for every student). The university even has a way to change your student number if you don't want to use your SSN, but most students don't bother because it is a huge hassle to do so.

    In my opinion, this is almost as bad as requiring everyone to use their SSNs, since the hassle involved with changing your Studnet number usually far outweighs the percieved benefit for the students, plus the government can't do anything because they don't regulate Virginia Tech student ID numbers.

    The only good news I have is that most teachers are pretty good about not posting your entire ID anywhere (usually just the last 4 digits) so it is slightly harder to get someone's ID/SSN number.
  • 4. Class requirements are communist. After an extent, forcing all children to learn the same things (true with very minor exeception through high school) is ridiculous.

    Homework is communistically enforced regardless of necessity ("responsibility is part of learning" -- bullshit.

    I agree with a large portion of your arguments, and I certainly don't want to start a flame war, but I question your labeling of some practices as "communist". The practices you cite seem to me to fit more in the lines of late industrial capitalist standardization and automation. The oft-quoted phrase "from each according to his abilities..." implies to me that under a communist system (something that I do not believe we have experienced on a large scale) school children would be encouraged to challenge themselves and their needs in accomplishing that would be provided. It may just be a case of semantics, but I think the underlying issue is what I perceive as a mistaken tendency to associate authoritarian central control with communism.

    Just the thoughts of a wage slave, thanks for listening.

  • I went to college at LA Tech in Ruston. This is reflective of the mindset of the entire town. It is the wealthiest town in Louisiana (possibly the south) pre capita and the people with influence tend to totally disregard the rights of others if it is convenient for them. If you have ever seen the movie "Drop Dead Gorgeous" then you should have a very good idea of what this place is like. FWIW, LA Tech has much the same attitude towards its students.
  • Let's look at the basic nature of Government from the beginning of time:

    At some point in our distant past people gave up some of their rights in exchange for protection. This has continued to grow, through the Monarchistic empires to the (sic)civilized Government empires we have today.

    The Government and other powers that be, such as school legislators do not do things like this for "security". They do this for the sole purpose of regulation and control.

    These shootings are by no means the first time political and social bodies have naysayed the school system. The shootings merely give an excuse to catagorize and enforce the school population. This is something that Governments have always wanted.

    Why did Caeser demand a census over 2 thousand years ago? He wanted to know 1) How many people he controlled and 2) How many people weren't paying taxes. If you can catagorize something, you can control it.

    Think of the benefits this ID system can give to our great nation! These id's can be required to open a door, or, better yet, can just be automatically read when a student walks through a door. An electronic scale was stolen from a physics lab? Well, now, with the new-and-improved student tracking system, the suspects can be narrowed down in record time. A police officer arrests a student and needs their record? No problem! Scan the kid's barcode and find out their entire history. Just think of the possible benefits of knowing every time a kid gets in trouble -- no! just think of the benefits we can have by tracking a child's every move! Every trip to the bathroom! Every website visited on the Internet! Want to get rid of that uneasy gay problem? Easy! Just tag 'em! With this revolutionary tracking system we can find out what video games a kid plays, what movies he watches, and stop him from comitting a crime before he even thinks of it! And why not? Children are just property after all. They have no rights.

    But why stop there? Think of the potential of tracking EVERY citizen of this great nation! A vicious murder-to-be checks out a bunch of books about bombs and buys all the supllies? 'nab 'em!!! Someone buys/rents a bunch of material that is anti-government? 'NAB 'EM!!! The possibilities are ENDLESS!!!!

    Sound a little to paranoid? Think about it. Is there any possible outcome other than a complete tracking system? Such a system is already coming into place; credit reports, health history, everything tied to you by your social security number. No, you are not required to give your number to everyone, but forget about doing some of your favorite things! I grew up like this. I was born in 1980 and had my SS number memorized by the sixth grade. I was PROUD of this!! I never hesitated to give the number for anything. Talk about socialization. How do you enforce this kind of categorization? You make the children used to it and reinforce to them that it's right. It will take time, but give it about another 50 years, and you'll be able to get the exact number of times you've taken a dump.

    Activists can delay this, but it is inevitable that eventually all humans will be tagged 'n tracked.

    Better start sucking up to Big Brother now.

  • Very, very well-put, Mr. Mollusk. I couldn't agree more with your views.

    As a high school student (senior), I have always been apalled at the pure outright uselessness and harmfulness of our educational system. I want to learn about things that interest me and about things related to my interests. If I'm not interested in chemistry (I'm not), I don't want to be force-fed chemistry lessons. I'd be perfectly happy to be taught the basics and perhaps spend a week taking a quick overview course, simply to broaden my knowledge, but taking an entire year or more in high school and more in college is a waste of my time.

    My school is actually much better about many things than normal public schools. I attend Merlo Station High School in Beaverton, Oregon (near Portland). The school itself houses multiple programs, and I'm a student in the science program (Natural Resource Sciences and Technology, known as NRST). There are approximately 200 students in the entire program, and six teachers, so after four years you develop a very close relationship with all of your teachers. The courses are geared towards science and technology, but also include a wide range of humanities and other things. The program also offers internships, mentorships, and allows students with free time in their schedule to take on what's called an independent study, in which the student actually teaches him/herself about any topic under the sun and gives regular progress reports and a final exihibtion of knowledge to a teacher.

    While the basic structure of the school is still fundamentally like any other American high school, and there's still lots of pointless required courses and unnecessary homework, the internships and independent study courses, as well as the small school environment and friendly atmosphere (students even call teachers by their first names), give many students something that they couldn't get anywhere else. Personally, if I hadn't enrolled at NRST after my freshman year of high school, I think I would've either become a failure in high school, dropped out, or just slacked off and floated through it with disinterest.

    NRST certainly isn't perfect, and the program isn't right for everyone, but it's an option that a lot more cities/school districts should have. I also find it amusing that NRST alumni simply cannot stay away...they're always coming back to the school to visit their teachers, who've become their close friends, or to meet the newest batch of students, or just to sit through a few classes and relive the old days. I've never heard of another high school where alumni actually went out of their way to return to the school outside of a class reunion.

  • *sigh* Um, I attempt to disbelieve? I try really really hard to make it all go away?

    Sheesh. ID tags I can actually understand (I have to wear them at work), not having your name flashing around to see I can understand if you're a little kid whose parents are worried about kidnapping, but ... somehow I can't stomach this. (See subject heading of my post for a good reason why.)

    Of course, what would IMHO be a sensible solution to this would be to make schools smaller and more specialized. That way, most likely you'd KNOW who was supposed to be there, kids with similar abilities and talents could work together under more-specialized instruction suited for them, and the world in general would be a brighter place.

    Meanwhile, this is Yet Another Reason I'm Homeschooling My Kids When I Have Them(tm).

  • The Lincoln Parish Schools *DO* have an opt-out policy. Basically, if you object to your SSN being used as your State Identification Number (which is used by the state computers to track students -- Louisiana has had corruption problems for many years, with many districts claiming hundreds or even thousands of "ghost students" then corrupt officials pocketing the funds, the student tracking computers are supposed to stop that), then they are required to assign you a 9-digit number starting with '9'.

    They discourage doing this because it makes their job harder. They must report both the old number and the new number to the state on their next data transmission, and if more than a certain number of "9" student ID's are shipped down to the state, this triggers an automatic state audit and they must spend weeks with state auditors pulling student schedules and teacher grade books for each of the students shipped down with a "9" number (this is because of the corruption problem in Louisiana). Still, they ARE required to do that.

    What I don't understand is this: Their administrative computer system uses a 7-digit district-assigned Student Identification Number for each student, a number which has nothing to do with the SSN. When I was a programmer working on that system (I worked for a consulting firm that wrote the administrative software that Ruston High uses), I was told to never put the SSN on any report printed by the system. I was told this both by my boss and by district officials. So we assigned the Student Identification Numbers based on the order in which students arrived at the school (e.g. the first two digits were school number, then there was one or two digits for starting year, then the rest was sequentially incremented as students enrolled).

    So why the did they put the bloody SSN on the ID cards, rather than the district-assigned "SIDNO"?!?!



  • Very very well put. I doubt I could've said it better.

    You might want to go and check out A.Lizard's pages on school reform (go to http://www.ecis.com/~alizard/ and start clicking links ... I'd post links but for some reason they don't seem to save *sigh*). He proposes something fairly similar to your suggestions. :)

    IMHO, one of the big problems with society is that the physical age of puberty keeps getting younger while the time at which someone is considered a competent adult keeps getting older. You need a four-year degree now, most of the time, to get what a high-school diploma would have gotten you 30 years ago. Four extra years to run around and not be anything approximating an adult. Just a long, protracted adolescense that keeps getting longer as the previous generation keeps on getting less-inclined to take anyone younger seriously. It's insane, I'm telling ya. :)

  • I hate to do this, but I figured "why not get these smart guys' input on the subject?", so here we go:
    The previous poster was kind enough to list 0-9 and their respective binary equivalent. Take notice of the code for the number 6: "01-100", which appears as two thin lines separated by a thin space.
    Now grab your nearest recent grocery store purchase (or follow this link [adams1.com] if you're lazy) and take a gander at the calibration marks: the identical markings at the beginning, middle, and end.
    Yep, you guessed it! 6's, each 'n every one of them! So now you have 666 in every UPC code.
    And the relivant scripture: Revelations 13:16-18 [gospelcom.net] says
    "16. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,
    17. so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
    18. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."
    Spooky! To me, anyway. All we need is UPC codes on our hands/foreheads for a prophesy from 1000's of years ago to come true!
    You guys think this is a weird coincidence, or maybe the guys that came up with the UPC code decided to make an inside joke or something?
    My uncle showed me this like 10 years ago, I'd be curious to hear what you guys think about it...
  • by witten ( 5796 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:40AM (#1660941) Homepage
    When I tried to read the linked article, I got this error:
    403 Forbidden

    This webserver does not answer requests from browsers that do not set the HTTP_USER_AGENT variable (the browser ID string). Please try your request again using a properly configured browser.

    I guess I better go disable my Junkbuster privacy-enhacing proxy so that I'll be allowed to read this article about privacy violations.
  • by Prometheus_NG ( 61422 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:43AM (#1660952)
    To this day the part that most galls me about elementary, junior, and high-schools in this country is that the institutions where we try to teach kids about freedom and responsibility is run like a miniature fascist state or prison. On the cusp of adulthood we treat teenager like third class citizens. Let's think of all the rights kids *Do Not* have in school which adults in this country take for granted.

    1. Free Speech: Beyond limiting simple vulgar language in school, most schools limit political and religious expression. Not to mention criticism of the school administration and it's policy's. While this usually takes the form of censorship of the school newspaper, schools have tried to punish kids for self-published web sites that are independent of the school.

    2. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Schools reserve the right to search not only a student's locker, but also their bags, and even their person. Full body cavity searches are even administered with some frequency.

    3. Freedom of association. In the wake of Columbine many kids have been harassed for being part of their local school's equivalent of the Trench Coat Mafia. But even before this latest frenzy it has been common place for school administrations to directly harass kids who do not "fit in" or hang out with the wrong crowd.

    Beyond these basic issues I think it is worth noting that school administrations routinely tolerate peer abuse that would be legally actionable in any other context, except prisons. Beyond, simple issues like verbal and sexual harassment, school routinely tolerate physical intimidation and assault.

    In the current frenzy schools are simply becoming the full fascist entities they have always wanted to be. I can't wait till we have the announcement that some school will have all students wearing orange jumpsuits (to make it more difficult to conceal weapons, and discourage gangs), ID tags (to keep out non-students, and make tracking students easier), card lock doors, metal detectors, transparent book bags, random mandatory drug testing, and armed guards cruising the hallways. (Did I miss anything?)

    Does this sound like a school to anyone?
  • Ruston High School has been in denial about their drug and gang problems for years. It's a strange mixture of people attending the school -- half the kids are the very bright kids of Louisiana Tech professors (the school directly adjoins the La Tech campus), the other half are from some of the poorest slum and hill-country families in Louisiana.

    The whole point of blaming it on "Columbine" was that it gave the administration an "out". They could introduce the placards because of Columbine, not because they have a drug and gang problem where students expelled for drug and gun violations routinely come back on campus to ply their trade. (It happened, I can't tell you how I know due to legal reasons, but it happened). And for those parents who HAVE been saying for years that Ruston High School needs to Do Something about crime and violence on the school campus, now they can say that they ARE "Doing Something", instead of saying "What crime? What violence?".

    The most idiotic part was the use of social security numbers. There is a 7-digit district-assigned Student Identification Number that could have been used. The library system would have accepted that immediately, while the lunch system would have been a bit iffy (due to federal requirements, where free lunch students' SSN's are needed in order to get federal funds), but that could have been worked around by putting the SIDNO in one of the blank fields (I know they had at least one 9-digit field that was blank in the records that I imported into the administrative system) and then contracting Bon Appetite (the vendor of the lunch system) to scan that other field rather than the SSN field when deciding what account to credit or debit.

    Instead, it appears they didn't even think twice about using the SSN. *DUMB*.


  • Hmm. I've seen a number of these posts about IDs...

    One thing that they *do* help stop outsiders doing is casing the place in advance. If somebody *really* wants to massacre the folks inside, they might normally want to take a tour. Things like the locations of exits, choke points, cover in the surrounding terrain, the level of security, and so forth might all interest a psycho who's interested in playing sniper...

    Sure. It's not going to stop somebody from waltzing in with an MP5 (or, more likely, a 12-gauge) and starting a one-sided firefight -- but short of having tight control over all possible entrances, a wide zone where no one may approach unobserved, and armed guards, what will? If an individual doesn't mind dying in the attempt, prevention is damn tough.

    It *might* stop somebody from first hiding explosive devices around the place, or caching ammunition or additional weapons in the vicinity.It *might* stop that person from figuring out where the large concentrations of students are likely to be. And so forth.

    It doesn't do much at all to insiders, of course, and that's a pretty big gaping hole.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:44AM (#1660962) Homepage
    This is the most shockingly heineously stupid thing I've read in a long time. In fact, I almost can't believe this isn't a hoax - that real-life American school administrators would be so utterly stupid and evil. You can tell them I said so.

    In fact, I wasn't really shocked by Columbine; I knew from the time I spent in "the joint" (High School), that such an event was merely a matter of time - but that it would lead to THIS is truly shocking. I would definately pull my kids from such a school. This should not be allowed, it does nothing to prevent "school violence", it's in direct violation of the Department of Education and Department of Justice's guidelines on prevention of school violence ( http://www.air-dc.org/cecp/guide/guidetext.htm ) and it's just plain evil - not just the social security number thing, and not just the fact that they're required to wear the badge on a lanyard (ha, my company "required" all of it's employees to do the same thing, nobody does it. It's retarded!), but the fact that the kids are REQUIRED to wear a Pepsi logo, and advertise for a corporation - now that just plain has nothing to do with education, and should not be tolerated period.

    Take the principal out and whoop his 455!

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • But the 'privacy' issue has *long* been a Dead Letter.

    Now that I no longer work for the government as a contractor, I find it funny just how clueless most of America is about this...especially the tech-saavy /. crowd.

    Biometric ID system are here, now, have been for awhile and aren't going away.

    Looked at your Driver License lately? Noticed anything 'funny' about it, like a Magnetic Strip on the back? Look closely at that picture...it's a scan, not a chemically processed photo. Live in Kentucky? Well then, you know you SSN is integral to your Driver License...in Georgia its a fingerprint. Having a baby soon? Well, know that the day it is born an SSN will be applied for for it by the hospital...

    You see folks, about, oh, three years ago, the President got his wish for a National ID Card under the guise of Immigration Reform. The Census/DOC is super happy about this (off the record) as is State/Local law enforcment, Child Protective services, etc.

    The cool, or rather, sinister thing about this is that those concerned *knew* they could NEVER get away withis outright, so that did an end run by Modifying/Brushing aside the SSN# Act. What's more, places like Banks, which are required to link a person to an SSN are no longer liable for databasing this info ad forwarding it to Local/State/Federal.

    When you get a new job, all of the I9 stuff is cross-reffed. what do the wanna see as primary Proof of 'Citizenship'? You got it...that Digital State ID and your SSN...makes it all easier.

    And of course face recognition (now that it works...and works *well* on common PCs) all the rage now...put 2 and 2 together.

    Sadly, I wish I could say it was 'conspiracy theory' or 'Orwellian fantasy' but, heh, I can assure you that it isn't. Hang out in DC, around he Capital Beltway in/near Federal facilities...the technolgy is there and is used widely. And I'm not just talking NSA or DoD installations and contractors.

    And it slipped by some of the most stringent watchers of this stuff...buried on like Page 650 or so of the '96 Immigration Act. Go to Thomas and look it up yourself if you want...

    So All you High and Mighty 'It Won't Happen Here' folks...Gotcha!

    The Government isn't completly incompetent (mostly, yes) as it knows just *how* to put it over on us Freedom Lovin' 'Merkins...Smoke and Mirros, Bread and Circuses.

    Hey, it worked for Rome, right?

  • Home schooling is an option almost everywhere. Parents do not have to let their children be treated as chattel.
    .. and end up unable to socialize with other people their own age..

    Are you implying that you only get to spend time with other kids your own age inside the realm of school? What a lousy life you must live. I should hope that everyone, even if they go to public school, have the opportunity to socialize with other kids their age outside the realms of school. The thought of not seeing a person your age between the time school quits, and the time school resumes is nerve-wracking. No wonder kids have problems these days.

    Well, if that's the case for public school students I am eternally grateful I was home-schooled and had real opportunities to socialize with kids my age.

  • by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @01:31PM (#1660970) Homepage

    I believe that you have the right to believe whatever you happen to feel like believing.

    As to your right to impose your beliefs on others, your children, I'm realy not sure.

    My parents didn't impose their religious beliefs on me, and I'm very happy of that.
    I believe in the rights of others to decide their own beliefs, and if they're brainwashed into a set of beliefs at a young age then they never get that chance.


    protect my children from the Religion of Atheism

    I can't think of that many people who have been tortured and brutally murdered in the name of Athiesm, as for the well know organised religions...

    At this point Chandon Seldon considers changing his .sig to "Don't ban guns, ban religion - It'd solve significantly more problems", but decides against it because he doesn't want *all* his posts marked as '-1 troll/flamebait'

  • There's always the Social Security Deaths Index, available in many many geneology places online. Look up what Richard Nixon's SSN was and use that :)
  • I acutally kind of enjoy being referred to as a number. I guess its my computer side of my brain talking but I respond more to the last 6 digits of my SSN more than I do my name. My college teachers find it easier than trying to pronounce last names when taking roll, and in my History class we don't even write our names on tests anymore because when reading sloppy handwriting numbers are usually more legible than letters. I don't agree with wearing your ID on the outside of your clothing. My college ID is my picture my name and my SSN (which is also my student ID).

  • Yes, I understand what you're saying...perhaps I wasn't being very clear.

    What I meant to do is to counter the argument "tragedies like Columbine show we need to do things like put in more metal detectors and have more IDs (and more prayer to God - but not Allah - of course)" with a reminder that those things wouldn't have done any good at Columbine.

    I have no problem with people who want to install them for other reasons. I personally am not in favor of metal detectors, but I would be willing to listen to an argument for them that had some substance. Using Columbine as a reason for more school security of this type, however, is illogical, which is what I was trying to point out.
  • Federal law requires schools that accept federal funds to provide services to students whether or not they provide their SSN. The schools in Louisiana tend to give you a hassle if you refuse to give your SSN, because it is a hassle for them (they have to call the central office and get a district-assigned 9-digit number off the list that the state gave the district), and it can also trigger an audit (in an attempt to stamp out corruption in Louisiana, i.e. "ghost students"), but they're required to assign you a number if you refuse to give yours.

    Now, there's nothing in the law that says they have to take your SSN *OFF* their records once you've already given it to them, but state and district policies may say that you have that right. It's been a couple of years and I forget.


  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @02:48PM (#1660997)
    They think wearing an ID badge will prevent school violence? Hardly. No more than banning lockers and backpacks.

    There is a problem. Of that there can be no doubt. But what is the problem? Are backpacks the problem? No. Is the lack of an easy way to identify students the problem? No. Are trenchcoats the problem? No. In fact, I'm going to take a gutsy leap here and say that even guns are not the problem, as evidenced by the fact that for every psycho who shoots someone with a gun there are thousands of gun owners who never hurt anyone with a gun in their entire lives. I'm not in either camp (seeing as I don't own a gun, nor do I plan to in the immediate future), but it's simply an observation.

    And that's why ID badges, banning backpacks or tranchcoats, and metal detectors will not solve anything, nor will they save any lives at all. Violence in our schools is like a virus. You can suppress the symptoms with relative ease, but you have not cured the disease until you get to the root of the problem and eradicate that. So, we come to the question: what is the root of the problem?

    I believe that the problem is a simple lack of basic respect for one's fellow human beings. As someone who lives near Washington, DC (when not at college) I see this every single day, in adults as well as children. Politeness is a thing to be exploited. People are chess pawns to be manipulated in a game where the prize is power and/or prestige, or perhaps it is just a whim. Kids in school whose only fault is to prize knowledge over physical ability are tortured by their peers, day in and day out, from kindergarten all the way through high school. And I don't speak of the relatively good-natured ribbing our parents and even grandparents experienced; what I see going on in today's public schools would make Amnesty International cringe if only they knew. But they don't know, because administrations cover it up with shit like this. Why? Because really solving the problem is hard, very hard. So instead they quietly hide it away, putting the victim through punishments which were meant for the agreesors, all the while winking at the troublemakers, giving them the silent go-ahead to continue the brutality.

    And yes, solving this problem will be difficult. The first thing is the hardest: admitting that we were wrong. Our culture has made many great strides, and most of the time the changes have been for the better, but somewhere along the line we screwed up, and now we have to go back. To what? I don't claim to know; it can be blamed on any of a million different things.

    One popular theory among conservatives is that it's the breakdown of the family unit, and there's some credence to that; where will a child learn to respect all people if not from a set of loving parents to use as examples? This is the one I tend to believe. But at the same time, dysfunctional families have always existed (if you're religious they existed all the way back to Adam and Eve and their kids), and this kind of violence was so seldom seen even ten years ago that to say it never happened wouldn't be far from the truth. Then again, there weren't nearly so many dysfunctional families, and most people who came out of those still managed to become well-adjusted, evan after abuse. Conversely, some families, while hardly dysfunctional by any means, actively twist their children into the brutes we see today (particularly in terms of racism; I've had the misfortune to witness this as well).

    Some, mainly the religious right, would say it was the separation of church and state. That theory's not one I tend to believe, but I see their viewpoint; if the schools don't teach that there are any moral laws that transcend human beings then what reason is there to respect anyone? At the same time, there's the concept of gestalt, that humanity is greater than the sum of the human beings within it. It's a completely nonreligious idea which happens to have the interesting property of allowing the idea of respect for all people to be taught along with a reason for doing sowithout infringing upon anyone's religion or lack thereof. Why respect all people? Because they, like you, are humans, a part of something greater than either of you. An interesting idea, and perhaps something that ought to be looked into; I don't know of many people who would argue that humanity is as a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

    Others claim it's media violence. The theory goes that media violence first desensitizes people, then causes people to actually crave it. There's a very large hole in this theory, though. The only reason moviemakers create films as they do is because it's profitable; just ask any movie maker. The only thing that hasn't become cheaper (when inflation is accounted for) over the past fifty years is movie-theater tickets, yet people flock to see the movies in ever-increasing numbers, particularly violent ones. Moviemakers know this; they realize that the desire for violence is already present in the audience, long before any exposure takes place. It is the same for television and video games. I tend to believe this craving comes, once again, from a basic lack of respect for all people; if you respect people then by definition you desire violence towards them. But I digress; the gestalt idea is for another debate some other time.

    So how do you solve this problem? Much as I hate to say it, it's probably too late for the current generation of high- and even middle-schoolers. But you can still reach current and forthcoming elementary-schoolers. Get it into children's TV programs (it's been in Sesame Street and even Barney for decades, but the oldest target age for these is still too young to have much of an effect), and get it into the schools. The rule is a simple one: respect all people. Zero tolerance for infractions (though, obviously, what constitutes disrespect is going to have to happen on a case-by-case basis for all but the most blatant violations). Break it too many times, and it's out of the public school system and into a system specifically trained to handle bullies, such as military school (mention military school to any bully, by the way, and 99 times out of 100 you'll get a noticeable fear reaction; the threat is quite effective if it can be backed up).

    Yeah, it's a simple thing. It sounds too simple, in fact. So did the "Just Say No" campaign, but it was working while it was in force (studies showed a decline in drug abuse during those years). It was criticized by all sorts of people for being too simplistic, but it worked. The other campaigns since then, while they've been much more sophisticated, haven't had much (or at least as much) of an effect; drug abuse is on the rise again (perhaps more slowly than it would be if no campaign existed, but any rise is a sign of failure). Sometimes simpler really is better.

    The rule is simple. Respect all people. Why can't the schools get that into their heads? It would save them, students, parents, and possibly the world at large a great deal of trouble in the end.
  • This is new because it is a badge, not a card. The students are forced to wear them at school.

    This is not a new thing, but until now it has been primarily a government/dod/secure area thing.

    It will not be long before readers will be placed at the doors that will scan you as you walk into the school and record the time entered/left, etc. PLace readers throughout the school and you can roughly track a students movements thorugh the school. (Watch the same group of students go to the boys room at the same time to catch a smoke, Track the movements of the "Trenchcoat Mafia(SM)" throughout the school, and harass them when their patterns don't fit their class schedules.)

    Its only a matter of time.

    What I wonder is how ling it will be before the students start printing their own barcodes to screw with the readers (if any yet)

  • There's a *huge* difference between having your SSN on an ID card in your wallet and having it on a badge which must be visible at all times.

    Reducio ad absurdum: I can sit outside of a college campus all day and never learn a single SSN as the students and staff stroll by. I can sit outside of this school with a camcorder and obtain *every* SSN, get a good physical description, etc.

    This is not a trivial issue. Suppose Bob has a thing about 10-year-olds. Everyone has been warned about strangers like Bob, but Bob sat in a car a few days ago and got the SSN of several potential victims. He looked up their name on any of several sites that provide this service for a modest fee. Now he asks Heather for help finding his lost kitten *by name* and claims to be a neighbor whom her parents know - how else could he know her name?

    It's precisely because of people like Bob that Congress (or the DoE?) decided to prohibit public disclosure of personally identifiable information. IIRC, it was a response to problems, not a blue-sky scenario, and with this system it is only a matter of time until someone exploits this oh-so-brilliant strategy and rapes a child.
  • These things are badges, though--as in "wear this at all times, prominently displayed." That means that anybody who knows how to read barcodes can read yours any time. With an ID card, you can at least partially prevent anybody from reading it.

    My elementary/middle/high school used a randomly generated four-digit number, with the two-digit year of graduation prepended, as an ID number. My local school district uses a randomly generated six-digit number--if you're 123456, 123457 could be sitting next to you or in a classroom clear across the city.

    Using the SSN is not only illegal (as others have pointed out), it's also astoundingly lazy. When I was in school, everybody knew everybody else's ID number. Hell, in my circle of friends, we'd actually adress each other by number as a joke.

    This is dangerous. Not to even mention the whole idea of badges...

  • It is not illegal. The school is allowed by federal law to ask for the SSN. You are allowed to refuse to give them the SSN, at which point they still must enroll you, but you will be assigned a "State Identification Number" starting with '9'.

    It is important to note that there is a 7-digit district-assigned "Student Identification Number" for each student in their student information system that is totally unrelated to the SSN. They had to have done a special query from the system to even get a list of students with their social security numbers. I was one of the programmers who wrote the student information system used at Ruston High School (while working for a consulting firm), and we did that on purpose, at district request -- none of the standard roster reports will list social security numbers, they will only list "SIDNO" (the 7-digit student identification number).

    The social security number (or 9-digit '9' number) is used for two things: 1) the state computer system uses it as the student's "State Student Identification Number", so that they can track students and detect fraud (like 'ghost students'), and 2) the federal school lunch program uses it to match the student body against the food stamp rolls in order to detect students eligible who are not receiving services, and vice-versa (i.e., to detect fraud). It most certainly does NOT need to be on a student badge -- the 7-digit district-assigned number would suffice just fine for anything except the school lunch computer (which, alas, would require a little custom programming -- there is a second 9-digit field that could be adapted, but they would probably have needed to pay Bon Appetite a few bucks to make their card scanner use that rather than the SSN field).


  • by BugMaster ChuckyD ( 18439 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:51AM (#1661031)
    Its bad enough that these kids are forced wear IDs and its even worse that they are using the supposedly provate SSN but whats the deal with the Pepsi logo also mentioned in the article?

    Not only are they subjected to this pointless knee-jerk facist "security", measure they're forced to be walking coporate billboards.

    Im glad some of them are standing up aginst this foolishness, and I think they should also boycott Pepsi products.

    this is part of the IMO rather disturbing "prove you're not a criminal" mentality thats increasingly prevelant in the US today (show your DL for transactions, drug tests etc etc)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:51AM (#1661034)

    * The NSA monitors our phone calls, faxes, and e-mails ("Eschelon").
    * Secure encryption cannot be exported.
    * The FBI wants the right to monitor our computers without us knowing.
    * Wiretapping capability is built into the phone system
    * I just saw on TV that politicians in California are trying to build some kind of remote shutdown into the engines of our cars to stop car chases.
    * The White House is investigating what kind of new Internet laws to pass to prevent "abuse"
    * They're meeting in Germany to come up with a universal censoring ("labeling") PROTOCOL.
    * They're giving our kids NUMBERS TO WEAR, using their SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER?!!! (Get them to accept this when they're young so they don't think anything of it...)

    Maybe they should just tatoo the numbers on the kid's forearms. I heard that's been done before somewhere...

    Every day I hear more and more examples of freedoms being eliminated. It's going slow, step-by-step, but it's happening. If nothing is done, in 20 years it will be so common and I'll seem like some kind of radical fringe terrorist... They'll probably come after me. Or maybe you.
  • by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:52AM (#1661052) Homepage
    I mean, c'mon. Why don't they just tatoo it on the kids faces at birth?

    Then they don't have to worry about making the kids wear some silly ID badge.

    I wonder if these kids have the right to refuse to use their SSN? According to the gubament, they're supposed to be able to refuse to have their SSN used as a form of identification. For that matter, they're supposed to be able to refuse to ever include their SSN on their records to begin with.

    I have a friend that I work with who is adament about his SSN showing up in places it doesn't belong. Apparently he's had problems in the past when he was in the USAF about people getting ahold of his SSN and doing things they shouldn't. He would get the blame or worse, the bills.

    I always teased him about it, but now I wonder if he wasn't right. This is absolutely ridiculuous.

    Perhaps next the state will require that these kids have ID badges that include information on their GPA and class ranking, permanent record and will require the students to answer to numbers instead of their names.

    This is a classic issue of public safety vs. personal freedom/privacy. In the wake of the Columbine massacre and the plotted shootings at schools around the nation, the faculty and parents are now willing to sacrifice their kids' personal freedoms and privacies for a little bit more security. But its not like these badges are going to help any.

    Suppose the two assailants at Columbine had been wearing ID badges. Would that have helped any of the victims? Could they've said, "Gee, that's Harris, and now that I know his SSN, he can't kill me?" C'mon people, GET A GRIP!

    This form of security is useful for faculty members at elementary schools because those kids can see that if someone doesn't have a badge, perhaps they shouldn't speak to them. But so far I am unaware of any school shootings taking place where student identification would've helped the victims in any way, shape or form.

    Alas... At least the kids in Louisiana get to learn about evolution. Stupid Kansas.

    "A mind is a horrible thing to waste. But a mime...
    It feels wonderful wasting those fsckers."
  • I personally would, if I had a kid who encountered such a situation, would ask the child what they thought and how they felt about staying/leaving school. I agree that, by keeping your child in school and fighting from the inside, you're not letting them win, then again, I understand, as you've pointed out:
    I would remove them from the danger (Yes, it's dangerous to have all free-will and common sense scared out of them)

    I wouldn't want my child to be hurt either. Which is why I'd confront the child about what they felt like doing, because ultimately, by deciding for yourself and not letting the child decide, you're executing your own form of totalitarian control over the child... the child may wish to fight for his/herself in such a situation, and thereby gain strength and confidence in his/herself, as well as help to do the same for others, and gain back the lost rights.

    Which amounts to this: I think this is horrid, and yes, schools are often run like prisons.. (I know, because I attend a residential high school; _not_ a boarding school, mind you), and I don't think this should be the case. Schools are supposed to be places of nurturing and openness and freedom and knowledge, not militaristic control and forced feeding of compact packets of "brain-stuffs."

    My $0.02 worth
  • worse, 01 is used as a special number for people who don't have a personnumber. I have no idea how they are going to solve that next year.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Uh, back to the original topic: The SSN thing is dumb and should be revised. Now back to the topic above:

    orange jumpsuits (to make it more difficult to conceal weapons, and
    discourage gangs), ID tags (to keep out non-students, and make tracking students easier),
    card lock doors, metal detectors, transparent book bags, random mandatory drug testing, and
    armed guards cruising the hallways. (Did I miss anything?)

    Does this sound like a school to anyone?

    Except for the orange jump suits and id cards, Yeah. My high school. *EIGHT*YEARS*AGO*
    Why? Becuase of the gangs drugs and a whole list of other things that could harm the general school populus. Did the students mind? NO. It actaully helped them to feel SAFE.

    Then again maybe for you the act of going to school in the morning didn't envolve FEAR.

    First day I arrived at college I was issued an id card with a nice little magnetic strip on the back. I couldn't get into my dorm without it.
  • Even if there is a school assigned email address, do you honestly think a teacher who would support such an action accually HAS and email address? That a laugh, sorta like my boss that insisted we buy him a $5000 laptop and never used it. I happend to turn it on the other day to try and update something and had the daylight savings time notification pop up.. Meaning he hadn't turned it on in months. OPPS sorry I just went on a rant there didn't I? :)
  • by sam@caveman.org ( 13833 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:55AM (#1661099) Homepage
    I've had my SSN as my ID all through public school and college (Purdue University) and of course on my Indiana driver's license.

    But luckily I was out of my high school (Marion High School) before they started having kids wear id tags. My younger brothers thought that was bad. They had no idea. Now they are wearing transparent backpacks.

    If you don't wear a transparent backpack, they will confiscate your backpack and all contents.

    Strange stuff.

    I guess they've always had armed guards there, not sure if they have metal detectors or not.

    No opinion on the matter, but what I guess I would say is, wow, this is pretty sad.
  • "Get them to accept this when they're young so they don't think anything of it..."

    I hate to post a "what he said" but this bears repeating. As long as these erosions occur in contexts where they go unquestioned, they are (gag) "accepted" by the populus at large. The earlier the process happens, the less likely it will be challenged of course, and the more ingrained the (gag) "acceptance" will become.

    The real solution is for violations of this sort to be well-publicized, whenever possible. Since this involves "children" (that category that local media love to mention) it has a greater potential to be picked up. I recommend that everyone here forward the link to the base story to their local television and print media so *they* can cover the story as well as just /. and related media. The mainstream media needs to cover the issue before significant results will be acheived.

    (It is too bad this is a reply to an AC, since that means many won't see this, and therefore many won't think to follow the above suggestion. Moderators: consider moderating the parent up?, consider moderating me up?, consider some other solution?)

  • by shr ( 13954 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @07:04PM (#1661106)
    I can't believe that no other geek has talked about the binary encoding scheme that the barcodes use for numbers...

    There was a link in the article to a page describing how to read the barcodes [geocities.com], but it just gives a table showing the binary codes and their decimal value without explaining it. I couldn't resist trying to understand it, and I have composed the following rules:

    • From left to right the first 4 bits have values of:
      • 1247
    • Each code most have 2 and only 2 of the bits set. The fifth bit is used to ensure that this is always true.
    • The value 11(decimal) represents the digit 0(decimal).

    Once I started I couldn't stop, so check out this page [adams1.com] for a good reference on barcodes.

    Odd thing is that when you get a look at all the different barcode formats, they chose about the easiest one to be read by humans because:

    • When dealing with only the digits 0-9, spaces don't mean anything, you only have to focus on the bars. However the spaces are useful to help you spot character boundaries. This means you don't have to keep as good a track of where you are when reading across.
    • There are only 2 line widths rather than the 4 used in some other systems.
    • The encoding for one digit always looks the same, no matter where it appears in a number and what digits surround it.
  • Both of the Universities I attended as an undergraduate did the same thing. Plain sight text SSN right on the ID. My grad school didn't bother, and just gave me an ID with a serial number.

    In the meat-grinder classes (the high-occupancy lecture hall ones) results were posted outside the professors office, tagged by SSN (or I should say 'student number') to protect anonymity. Too bad that almost everyone wore theirs on a cord, used them as a bookmark, paid for food with them...

    You needed to show your ID to check a book out of the library, or to use a PC lab (and to get chem lab equipment etc)... All these places were staffed by students.

    If you logged on to the library system, you could check your overdue books - by SSN. But, all students were listed, along with phone numbers and addresses (local and home)...

    So if you worked in the PC lab, and that cute girl didn't want to give you her number, it didn't matter. And if that jock gave you a hard time in the caff, all it took was a quick peek and you could send your war-dialer after him at 3am - Hypothetically of course.

    Oddly, only the tech-savvy students noticed this. Even more oddly, the sensitive records of the most talented ones didn't stay in the public-accessible databases for very long.

    In many schools, the 'student ID' is all that's needed to obtain a transcript.

    Now, just out of curiosity, who out there DIDN'T have their SSN as their student ID in college?
  • 2 Theories:

    1. Its a plan to regulate the society. Adults can be far too stuck in their ways to change (like getting my father to use a computer). The children are much more inpressionable. Plus if they become used to such actions early in life they won't scream as loud (if at all) when the same things are imposed upon them as adults. They may even look at us funny while we kick and scream because to them it's the status quo.

    2. Adults being stuck in their ways (read lazy) cannot adjust to a new youth societal paradigm and are pushing them into a mold because they do nto/can not want to try to understand/work with them.

    Disclaimer: There are many who do want to work with the child to help. They are a dwindling few. Just look at the school I went to: From what I can tell the quality of education has gone down, and the teachers are threatening to strike because the aren't in the to 10% of school salaries in the area.

  • America's schools have been heading this direction for quite some time. Not only is it very common to brand each student with ID numbers and badges they cannot remove (this has gone on for some time in or nation's poorer schools), they're also creating an atmosphere where it's increasingly difficult to raise children free of commercial influences.

    The Pepsi advertisement really bothers me. These people have no choice but to be a walking advertisement. I, for one, find America's corporate culture very unhealthy, and would question any public institution's forceful indoctrination.

    Of course, most lefties are too busy working to change the world, and don't have the money to hire armies to do it for them. :-b
  • I am a free man!

    Who is number one?

    You are number six.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • This whole thread is almost rhetorical in light of the forum. Let's sum up:

    1. Statement: mention metal detectors, mandatory bag searches, whatever.
    2. Response: outrage at the obvious civil rights violations/privacy issues/human rights/etc. involved in implementing the statement. General nods of agreement all around.
    In a largely libertarian forum such as Slashdot, the response is a forgone conclusion of the statement. The statement is probably unnecessary because we already know the response.

    My question is, then, how does this help? With junior high schools being overrun by organized gangs, what other solutions do we have? Next you're going to be telling me that we should be giving the students the wherewithall to defend themselves...

    What actually makes you safe is ordinary people with the means to protect themselves and the willingness to assist and protect each other, even at risk to themselves.

    Damn! Looks like you beat me to it. Are you actually suggesting that our children should be allowed (or perhaps encouraged) to carry weapons with them to school as a means of self-defense? I hope not.

    The problem here is that you are making a generalization about adults and applying it to children. Children at school should not be allowed to defend themselves by whatever means they see fit. They don't have the common sense necessary to make sensible decisions about these things. This is why we make a differentiation between children and adults. Children need a much more strict set of guidelines with regard to their behavior. With all respect to those who advocate personal freedoms, allowing students the freedom to make their own decisions about self defense is not a workable solution in a public school.

    I see a lot of ranting about how horrible it is that our children's personal freedoms are being abridged, but nobody is making good suggestions for other workable solutions.

    Imagine that you are the school administrator of a large high school. What will you do about the following problems?

    • Kids are dealing drugs on campus.
    • Organized gang activity is prevalent on campus.
    • It is not only probable, it is almost certain that a number of students are carrying deadly weapons, including guns, while on campus.
    Can you deal with these problems without stepping on somebody's personal freedoms? These aren't just hypothetical; they are reality on campuses everywhere. What are you going to do about it?

    If you're in charge of a school and kids are carrying guns around, metal detectors begin to look like a really good idea. When gangs are staking out territory on campus, school uniforms begin to look like a really good idea. When dangerous drugs are being traded among students like baseball cards, searching backpacks begins to look like a really good idea. Do we have any better ideas? I don't see anybody expressing them.

    My family moved a lot, so I went to four different high schools, at least one had a problem with gang-related activity, but even this was nothing like I'm seeing on the news lately. There is virtual anarchy on our junior high and high school campuses. What do we do if we are not allowed to install metal detectors and search book bags?

    As a disclaimer, I must say that am all for individual personal freedom. But I've yet to hear anybody make a realistic suggestion about what can be done about the drug trafficing and gang warfare going on in our schools.

    Try being a teacher sometime and see if your opinions about student's rights change at all. I'm married to a teacher, so I do have some clue here. Fifth graders (whom she's not allowed by regulation to even touch) have threatened her life. You can be sure that it scared her quite a bit, especially considering current events.

    Waxing on about fascism is one thing, but children are, after all, children. They don't have common sense, by and large. And they aren't, by and large, responsible enough to handle all the personal freedoms we like to preach about. They need to be told what they are and are not allowed to do. They need to be forced to obey these rules. This is called discipline. In the absence of this discipline, children grow up to be spoiled adult brats who think that the world owes them something by virtue of their being human.

    Ok, by little rant is over. Move along. Nothing to see here...

    Que the moderators.

  • I think you need to distinguish between governmental agencies and private businesses.

    According to Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility [cpsr.org]

    There are many restrictions on government agencies asking for your number, but few on individuals or companies. When someone from a government agency asks for your number, they are required to provide a Privacy Act Disclosure Notice, which is required to tell you what law allows them to ask, whether you have to provide your number, and what will happen if you don't provide the number.

    Private companies aren't required to follow this law, and in general your recourse is to find another company to do business with if you don't like their policies.

    This is interesting since a school district is very much like a government agency, isn't it?
  • According to the handbook, students aren't even allowed to touch each other. This isn't fair. A fellow student could be distraught about losing their last shred of privacy and you can't even give them a hug.
  • By law, only the SSA can request your SSN. IRS'
    use of the SSN is a big no-no, and there are
    several folks fighting it.

  • No, it is not a school. However, I think much of the push for schools to become fascist comes from parents who cry 'Protect the children!'

    >>>wearing orange jumpsuits (to make it more difficult to conceal weapons, and discourage gangs)

    Close. Many schools already have mandatory uniforms and dress codes.

    >>>ID tags (to keep out non-students, and make tracking students easier)

    My high school had these for the same reason you mention.

    >>>card lock doors

    Not in my high school, but probably being installed as we speak.

    >>>metal detectors

    Again, not in my high school but I'm sure administrators are looking at the costs.

    >>>transparent book bags

    Or no bags.

    >>>random mandatory drug testing

    My school did not have it, don't know about current high school policy though.

    >>>armed guards cruising the hallways.

    My school had guards, but they were not armed.
  • From the article:

    The badges are worn on a lanyard with the Pepsi logo on it. The badge has a photo of the student, the school name, the student's name, and a barcode which represents the Social Security number.

    Big Brother is here. And he drinks Pepsi.

    Pepsi. The choice of a brainwashed generation.

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • by mikeyman ( 95071 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:05PM (#1661185)
    Send a polite letter explaining why you think having the SSN as part of a student ID is wrong to: Dr. Charles Scriber Principal, Ruston High School 900 Bearcat Dr Ruston, LA 71270 Or Phone: 318-255-0807 or Fax: 318-251-2202
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The US government has been approaching makers of digital imaging equipment (read printers, computers, and scanners) and asking them to cooperate in making their equipment such that currency would be difficult to counterfeit, and that counterfeit currency would be able to be linked to the creator. Among the proposals, each printer would have a unique serial number. This serial number could be encoded into the dithering pattern that the printer used to create certain colors. Voila! Now all printed documents are tracable to the printer.
  • by Suydam ( 881 )
    HOpefully they will.

    But I'm not so sure....there are literally hundreds of places around the US that use SS#s at identification...and 90% of the public never objects.

    I find this truly frightening.

  • by Hugh D. Hyatt ( 94194 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:08PM (#1661205) Homepage
    Almost anyone can require your SSN. Your employer, is an obvious example of someone other than the IRS who can do so. See What to do when they ask for your Social Security Number [cpsr.org] for a wealth of info.
  • I disagree with a lot of what has been said in the comment, although some of
    the views are close to my own. Ill pick at all that has been said so we can
    maybe find some interesting discussion. The education system has to be changed.

    At first it is probably important to say that I am European and was taught in
    German schools for my whole school life. In the text I usually speak of
    European schools, but I only have insight into the German situation of course.
    I think that most of my opinions are valid for all of Europe, though.

    Re 1.: Its right: kids really enjoy learning. And I believe theyll
    happily learn *anything*, including subjects you perceived as boring. The
    point is, as you said, that they are put behind desks and told to shut up. By
    bad teachers. By your description it seems that all US teachers are
    authoritarian pitbulls who force-feed their students unwanted information.
    From my experience I must say that all the teachers who were respected and
    liked by the students were those who started a discussion and got the students
    to cooperate with him. My history teacher, for example, used to give us some
    facts and then discuss them and all she did was guide us to the right
    conclusions. Her lessons were fun. If teachers successfully do this, their
    students will use their full creativity and learn things without any real

    Re 2.: Giving students ID tags or even serial numbers would be unthinkable in
    Europe, but then, schools in Europe and the USA are very different in their
    security problems, for example. Giving students second priority to the class
    is a normal thing- you cant have a productive environment if 30 children can
    all do what they like. Teachers who dont accept citicism are usually bad
    teachers, though, because good teachers only seldomly make mistakes
    and can usually accept them or counter criticism with good arguments of their
    own. This is not only true for teachers, of course. Wasting those hours is a
    question of point of view. And in subjects I took to be completely useless I
    read books under my desk, anyway.

    Re 3.: You are right to criticize this. Its hard to find a good system
    for advancement though. The problem is less grave in Europe anyway because
    there are different types of schools for people of different abilities.

    Re 4.: Forcing children to learn the same things is a good thing. Even if
    somebody is bad at a subject, he might still have to take it because he simply
    needs it. General culture (I looked this up; it sounds strange but my
    dictionary says its the right word) is an important thing. I know that most
    people will never have to do trigonometry in their job, but I think it is
    important to know it exists, how it is used and what for. I *hate* most
    poetry, but at least my opinion is based on the experience of having had to
    read and analyze them for years. Giving people general knowledge isnt
    ridiculous - its important and its actually interesting. You learn things
    you never intended to learn or didnt even know existed but maybe you
    eventually start to like them or you simply need them all of a sudden. An
    English major might need trigonometry, after all.

    Re 5.: Acepted.

    Re 6.: Luckily intelligent people arent usually discriminated in Europe. I
    cant remember any fellow students who were disregarded for *intelligence*.
    Some of these annoying people who only learn for school and parrot the
    teachers although they werent really all that intelligent were not accepted by
    everybody, but the almost never (that is to say, only in rare incidents) faced
    physical or psychical violence, and all of them had at least some friends. The
    most intelligent students were much respected by everyone. As for homework,
    about 80% of the students (including me) stopped doing them completely, and
    almost nobody did them reliably.

    Your third-last paragraph is too idealistic. In all big companies discipline
    is enforced by faceless authority. The government isnt much else. Kids being
    deprieved of freedom and learning ability may be true for America (I dont
    know) and is partially true for Europe.

    The second-last one provides interesting ideas, but making people choose their
    subjects in freedom can only work with grown-up persons who *know* their
    interests and wisely choose their subjects. This much freedom is also not
    useful because people wont learn the same things, but universities or
    companies will expect a certain minimum of general culture. Thus your idea is
    not bad, but in its proposed pure form too radical and thus not reasonable.
    What Id like to add to your proposals is strong promotion of teamwork.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:11PM (#1661222)

    ...why don't you read the CSPR Social Security Number FAQ [cpsr.org]? Also, check out the longer Privacy Rights SSN FAQ [privacyrights.org], which has a section entitled "How can a school use my Social Security number?" In fact, what the hell, I'm going to include it here:

    How can a school use my Social Security number?

    Schools that receive federal funding must comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in order to retain their funding (FERPA, also known as the "Buckley Amendment," enacted in 1974, 20 USC 1232g). One of FERPA's provisions requires written consent for the release of educational records or personally identifiable information, with some exceptions. The courts have stated that Social Security numbers fall within this provision.

    FERPA applies to state colleges, universities and technical schools that receive federal funding. An argument can be made that if such a school displays students' SSNs on identification cards or distributes class rosters or grades listings containing SSNs, it would be a release of personally identifiable information, violating FERPA. However, many schools and universities have not interpreted the law this way and continue to use SSNs as a student identifier. To succeed in obtaining an alternate number to the SSN, you will probably need to be persistent and cite the law. Social Security numbers may be obtained by colleges and universities for students who have university jobs and/or receive federal financial aid. (The FERPA text can be found at the web, www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ferpa.buckley.html .)

    Public schools, colleges and universities that ask for your SSN fall within the provisions of another federal law, the Privacy Act of 1974. This act requires such schools to provide a disclosure statement telling students how the Social Security number is used. If you are required to provide your SSN, be sure to look for the school's disclosure statement. If one is not offered, you may want to file a complaint with the school, citing the Privacy Act.

    When the school is a private institution, your only recourse is to work with the administration to change the policy or at least to let you use an alternate identification number as your student ID.

    P.S. Since I'm clinging to my privacy rights and posting as an AC, I'd appreciate it if a kindly moderator would bump the rating on this up to at least "1" so that most folks see it. Thanks!

  • Umm, on Win95/98 when you turn on the computer follwing a change in daylight savings it pops up a window notifying you of that change. meaning he hadn't turned on the computer since beginning of spring.
  • by Dagmar d'Surreal ( 5939 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:11PM (#1661226) Journal
    ...in this case is the principal. According to the news article, he has sought the advice of legal counsel, and apparently this just applied more fools to the situation.

    The principal claims that this use of the SSN is not in violation of federal law because it is encrypted.

    1. A bar code is an encoding mechanism, not an encryption mechanism. There is a huge difference.

    2. The federal law in question that created the SSNs in the first place does not have *any* tenet in it that I could see that says it's okay to use the number for things outside of the Social Security system provided that it's encrypted properly. It says rather flatly that it's not supposed to be used for this purpose.

    Frankly, I'd be lying to you all if I said that I didn't think that both the principal of this school AND his supposed legal counsel (I think he's just lying) are complete and utter fools.
  • It is articles like this that have made me start to seriously consider home schooling. This sort of school is likely to become more common, not less, amongst our government funded institutions since the few old timers who are holding up the better old standards are retiring or getting burnt out.

    Yes, Prometheus, you did miss something, the often criminally bad education that students get in these institutions. The only thing worse than being conditioned to be a prole, is to be conditioned to be a dumb, miseducated if not uneducated prole.

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:15PM (#1661233) Homepage Journal
    The new policy was instituted in response to the numerous shootings at schools around the country. Many schools now require ID cards to be worn as a security measure.

    Good idea, when kids are screaming out how bad they feel, how they feel repressed, uncared for, how they hate. Nothing better I can think of than to clamp down a little tighter, they have to give in eventually.
    Quick! lock 'em in a box before they hurt anyone/are hurt by anyone. And make sure they only have access to good clean American information (subsidized by advertisers...)

    What scares me most about this is that it is happening.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is exactly why I pulled my daughter out of school a number of years ago. She did nothing wrong, not even against a published school code or policy, yet I found myself in the vice principal's office listening to a four-star rant. My second attempt at getting a word in edgewise got me thrown out of his office. What pissed me off more than anything else was his assertion that this was 'his' school and he would run it 'his' way. That was the last day my daughter attended public school; she was home schooled from then on (she's a senior at St. Mary's College this year and doing fine, thanks.) I am fortunate to live in a state with quite liberal home schooling laws but had it been illegal I'd have done the same thing. BTW, the other two switched to private schools; I'm no longer consulting and can't home school these days. #2 is a freshman at college and #3 is a sophomore at a private high school. Am I paying a fortune to avoid the public Gestapo? Yes, and I'm happy to do it. I don't own a car or a house and I'd do the whole thing again if I had to.
  • by jflynn ( 61543 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:18PM (#1661247)
    I am glad to see our country working so hard to produce young people with a deep understanding of the stupidity and corruption everywhere in our society. Nothing will be more effective in promoting revolution or civil disobedience than small-minded persecutions and treating students as criminals. That's education with relevance.

    The diabolical cleverness of this plan is stunning. Now when someone walks onto campus with an M16, they'll quickly be able to tell if they are a student by examining their badge to see if it is forged -- once they find a bar code reader anyway! Oh -- students have been responsible for shootings too? Well, at least this will force non-students to shoot from outside campus grounds! Or pretend to be telephone technicians, plumbers, or pizza delivery persons anyway.

    Welcome to Amerika, please take an SS-Number, and be sure it is visible at all times!
  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:18PM (#1661248)
    I've tried very hard over the past few years to keep my SSN to myself, after a bad experience with a previous employer. My SSN showed up on my employee ID badge, my medical insurance card, my dental insurance card, my vision card, internal mailing labels, and my parking pass. The last item, of course, is what sent me over the edge. Not only is this grossly negligent, but there are numerous indirect ramifications. For example, my bank's account agreement specifically states that if I carry identifying numbers such as my SSN in my wallet with my ATM card, that (a) they consider it tantamount to writing the PIN on the card and (b) the bank is no longer liable/puts no limit on the loss you can incur if your card is stolen.

    Unfortunately, US citizens are compelled to give their SSN (aka "TIN" -- taxpayer identification number, in IRS parlance) to financial institutions in the US. There is no way to avoid them using the number. However, other governmental agencies are prohibited from using the SSN as an identification number. Not so with private institutions.

    I spent some time on the issue, found the federally-recognized generic SSNs (078-05-1120, and the series 987-65-4320 to -4329, typically used in instructions, advertisements, tv shows, etc) and made liberal use of them. When a unique number is critical, I ask the requester to assign a number that is unique _to_them_. For example, I have a number for all medical-related organizations and another for educational institutions at which I've taken classes recently, both distinct from my SSN. In this manner, I've compartmentalized the bases of information about myself so that it's much more difficult to develop an overall profile of me for invasive or marketing purposes.

    I steadfastly refuse to give out my SSN for anything where it's not federally mandated. Yes, you can do it -- just be pleasant about it, and make sure the number you're using is unique to the organization so that you don't cause unnecessary confusion later on. If uniqueness isn't important, use one of the numbers above. On a related note, the home phone number printed on my checks is the bank branch's direct line, showing the same point: redirecting people usually works much better than stonewalling them.

    One nice byproduct of this is that my junkmail levels have dropped to a very low level. Privacy is a relative concept, but it's not dead, and it's not irrelevant.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal