Another Use for GPS: Tracking Truant School Kids

Posted February 22, 2011 in Your Family & The Law by Arthur Buono

"It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your children are?" The school district in Anaheim, California, is tracking truant children with GPS devices. Those kids will have to check in several times a day under a program designed to force students to stay in school.

  • Truant school kids given GPS trackers as part of intervention
  • Truancy rates decline when tracking starts
  • Long-term poverty, crime linked to cutting class
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Truancy a Problem for Kids, Parents, Educators

The tracking is part of an intervention for kids who are habitually truant. It’s been applied in school districts in other parts of the country with some success. Some parents welcome the help keeping their kids in school, while others resent being singled out.

Privacy concerns have been raised in California and elsewhere where technology’s been used to track students. For example, a California preschool caused a storm of protest when it began tracking its students for recordkeeping purposes. Will someone, somewhere, find an improper or unforeseen use for data on students’ whereabouts?

Truancy is a serious problem with serious consequences. Besides failing to get an education, truant kids may be up to no good, like joining gangs. Parents can be fined if their kids are repeatedly truant. Truancy costs school systems money too, so it seems everybody has good reason to keep the kids in school.

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