Public schools started using GPS units in 2010 to track their students to make sure they are safe and attending classes. Twenty two students at Bryan High School were commanded by a Texas judge to wear GPS transmitters to prevent absenteeism. They want to track students who will skip school—every day of the week.
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One of the first schools in Illinois to comply with the new directive is Palos Heights School District 128. They started using GPS to monitor their students from the moment the children leave their homes to ride the school bus to the moment they take their ride home—every day. The school has been tracking their buses, and now they also include the children’s backpacks using tiny units of GPS that record whenever they get in and out of the bus.
The Palos Heights School District 128 disbursed a total of $16,000 for the technology that currently covers ten buses. The parents agree that it’s a small amount to pay for the security of the students. For Kathleen Casey, the school superintendent, the system assists parents in protecting their children.
Preschoolers in Contra Costa Country are also required to wear tiny GPS tags that will transmit signals to sensors placed all over the school. The system allows the school to keep track of the movements of the students, allowing them to monitor their attendance and even giving them information on whether the students have eaten or not.
With the technology, the school is able to save on operating expenses and free up some of the teachers since they no longer need to take note on paper files whether the student was absent or had eaten. The cost for acquiring the technology is $50,000, but federal agency shouldered the amount.
Anaheim Union High school District followed suit. They are the first school to use GPS system to monitor their students. The seventh and eighth graders, who only have four allowable absences, are issued cellphone-sized GPS devices so they can receive automatic calls every morning that will remind them not to skip school. The system was also paid for through federal grant.
The schools’ move to track students using GPS is driven mainly by money more than safety, that’s because every time a student misses a class, the school loses money from the federal government.