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Bakersfield Mother Requests GPS Tracking
The numbers associated with Autism are now at epidemic figures. According to a new government study published by the folks at Autism Speaks, Autism Spectrum Disorder now occurs in 1 of every 45 kids. Those are absolutely frightening numbers, and that means anyone reading this article likely knows a family where Autism resides. Since Autism is a spectrum disorder it means some kids can essentially get a tougher hand dealt with them. For example, one child with Autism can have some issues with socialization but can seem totally typical other than that, whereas another child with autism can be completely non-verbal and require 24/7 care. And of course, there are kids everywhere in between. One mother in Bakersfield, California understands the more severe side of Autism, and because she worries about the safety of her 6-year-old daughter with Autism she is battling her local school district to allow GPS tracking technology in the classroom.
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Darcy Cotton constantly worries about the safety of her 6-year-old autistic daughter Jaden, and that is why she invested in a personal real time GPS tracking system designed to locate her daughter at all times. The live tracker allows Cotton to view the whereabouts of her daughter all through her mobile phone. But most importantly the tracker can be programmed with safe zones that will alert parents if their child leaves those safety zones. This way the parent can be notified the very second their child might wander away. Although the child tracker seems like a great tool for personal safety that would be heralded by any school district, Shirley Lane Elementary has not been so enthusiastic about the approach. In fact, the school district is fighting the request of Cotton who wants her daughter to wear the device while attending class.
A superintendent working for Fairfax School District, which oversees activity at Shirley Lane Elementary, stated that the district had concerns over the tracking unit because it could create privacy issues that the district is unaware of. He would go on to explain that the Bakersfield school district did not want to violate the privacy rights of other students or faculty members and that the tracker had the potential to do that. He also stated that it was not a medical necessity for the girl to wear the child GPS tracking device.
Cotton has gone on record multiple times explaining that she feels the tracker could potentially save her daughter’s life if she ever wandered away so therefore the GPS is a necessity. And according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that provides statistics showing 50% of kids with Autism will wander away at least once, Cotton may have a strong case.
The Bakersfield area superintendent has a meeting scheduled with Cotton where the two will discuss the tracker in more detail and hopefully find common ground. Obviously, the school wants to make certain that students are safe but at the same time be sure student privacy rights are also not being violated.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.