SANANTONIO The hacker group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for taking down the Northside ISD's website in protest of the district's controversial student tracking IDbadges.
The group said in an e-mail to KENS 5 that they took down the district's website (www.NISD.net) on Saturday. They also included in the e-mail a link to a recent Kens5.com article on the district's new Smart IDs:
We saw your article ... Anonymous (@tr1xxyAnon) are not going to allow this!
The website was back online around 1 p.m. Sunday.
The program, which kicked off at the beginning of the 2012 school year, requires students at John Jay High School and Jones Middle School to wear a microchip ID that tracks their whereabouts while on school property.
The hacker group also sent a Twitter message to the NISD account on Thursday, teasingly notifying them that their site was down:
In response to an e-mail from Kens5.com seeking further comment, Anonymous said they are fighting for the students and want answers from NISD officials.
They're tracking students! They have rights too. I want a statement about this, nobody agrees with that, even the parents! Anonymous said in an e-mail.
NISDofficials said the website was never really down, but they did say there was an unusual amount of traffic Saturday night on the website.
The school district said they are not taking any chances and will be talking to police about the hacking claims.
NISD officials previously said that the goal of the new program is to increase attendance in order to secure more funding from the state. Officials said even an 1 or 2 percent boost could increase attendance-based revenue by more than $2 million.
Last week, a student at John Jay was granted a restraining order against principal Robert Harris, who had threatened to expel the student for not wearing her SmartID.
The student cited religious reasons for not wearing the tracking device. She also claims the principal violated her freedom of speech by stopping her from petitioning against the new IDs.