GPS Monitors Students For Truancy
How To Reduce Absenteeism In School
The old saying is that those who do not miss a single class are much more likely to understand class material, understand curriculum and pass the course, but getting students to attend class regularly and on time has become a challenge for many school districts all across the United States. Although truancy is a problem plaguing school districts everywhere, one school district in Texas has adopted a new plan that uses GPS tracking to help boost class attendance, reduce truancy numbers and hopefully help high school students meet their academic goals.
San Antonio Independent School District has been working closely with some parents to boost the attendance of high school teens who have a track record of being truant. With the permission of the parental authorities, selected students are being directed to carry a handheld GPS unit that will monitor and document the students’ whereabouts throughout the time they are supposed to be at school. How the GPS tracker works is that the system will require any student being monitored to “check-in” five times throughout the day to notify district mentors/staff that they are at the location they are supposed to be. One of the students who was using a GPS to monitor his movements explained that during lunch break he would have to push the number “one” three times to show that he was at lunch and on-campus at the appropriate time. Mentors are then assigned to monitor the real-time data for discrepancies and will contact any student who is off their path.
What Can Schools Do About Truancy?
The great thing about the new technological approach to the age-old problem of students ditching class is that it has a two-prong positive effect. The first being when students attend the class the school district receives more financial support, and the second, and most important, is that once students begin attending class regularly their grades typically improve significantly. Another student who was part of the program that uses GPS auto tracker technology to monitor movements explained that once she began routinely going to class on time she began to receive A”s on her report cards. This helped promote more positivity for the student, showing the student that through dedication and perseverance a higher education and better life are attainable. Not to mention, working on a more concrete schedule teaches students about diligence, routine, and responsibility.
Many educational experts and teachers agree with the independent studies that verify there is a direct correlation between regular class attendance and better grades.
Although when most people think of GPS tracking systems they think of the vehicle tracking technology used by businesses for fleet management applications, the truth is personal GPS tracking applications are just as prevalent now that GPS units have modernized for everyone to benefit from. Small, portable GPS units the size of a cellular phone are now being used for everything from overseeing teenage driving (teen tracking) to observing the movements of seniors diagnosed with a memory-related illness (elderly tracking).
Truancy Prevention Strategies
The saying is everything is big in Texas, but nobody thought the issue of improving student attendance was a big one until Tommy Munoz, a local Justice of the Peace official, released a statement saying that schools in his local area would be turning toward GPS tracking technology to help reduce the number of truant students. The GPS tracking plan is currently going through a trial basis where several handpicked habitually truant students will be monitored with GPS trackers over the next 120 days.
Students will be monitored via the tracking systems for no more than 40 days during the trial period. Officials believe the GPS tracking plan will greatly reduce the truancy problem in many schools and hope the personal tracking system plan will lose the interim tag soon.
The GPS tracking program is one of only many unconventional methods Munoz has tried to use to encourage students to attend class regularly and on time. Another unique program that Munoz used in the past to reduce truancy was sending a parent with the child at school to personally watch them and make sure their child was attending class.
Unlike the GPS trackers used to monitor sex offenders or other criminals, the tracking system technology the students are using does not require the user to have the GPS tracking device worn around the ankle. The student GPS tracking systems are roughly about the size of a standard cellular phone and can be kept in pants or jacket pockets. The school did not want any student to feel as if they were a criminal when they looked in the mirror and that is why they opted not to use any personal GPS tracking system that had to be worn around the ankle or wrist.
Schools are hoping teen GPS tracking will provide the cure to the truancy problem that has increasingly worsened over time.
Would you allow your teen/student to carry or wear a GPS if they habitually ditched class and were getting poor grades?
Should more school districts adopt their own version of a personal tracking plan to monitor students who continue to struggle attending class?
Should GPS stay out of school because it invades the privacy rights of teens?
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.