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"Schoolbus Kids" Being Tracked by GPS. Seriously?

school transportationTo allay nervous (or paranoid) parents, a suburban school district in Chicago has begun using global position system (GPS) to track school children who take the bus to and from school.

The Palos Heights School District had already been using ZPass, a GPS technology, to track the school buses. But now they have outfitted the kids’ backpacks with a small unit that keeps track of when the student gets on and off the bus, according to The Chicago Tribune.

What’s next? Are we going to have digital chips installed in our kids’ brains so we can keep track of them at all times?

Apparently, approximately 5 percent of the 490,000 school buses around the country use the student tracking technology, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Haven’t kids been riding school buses for generations? Has anything changed during that time other than the need for so-called helicopter parents to keep constant track of their children?

What’s even more disturbing is the potential implications for such a device.

Dallas Rackow, transportation director at a northern Illinois school which also uses the student tracking system, says the district could allow parents to use the system to check on their children.

“That is where this is going. I would guess within the next year, that will be something we can make available to parents,” Rackow said.

The system is intended to alleviate parents’ fears, but parents are always going to be afraid of something. Will this new system really alleviate their fears of letting their kids go on a school bus? While it may help them keep track of their kids, unfortunately, it won’t manage to guarantee that their kids are safe.

The Tribune quotes a child therapist who says that kids are better off if their parents aren’t anxious. But, by that token, maybe we should encourage parents to worry less and stop feeding their fears?

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Photo: wikipedia/Joedamadman

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