We have talked about this before

Katherine - posted on 02/22/2011 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Reposted from Cafemom



The first time the school called my house to tell me my kid had been marked absent, I laughed. She was lying, miserable, on a love seat across the living room. Yes, of course she'd been marked absent. Duh.



The next day, they called again. Absent. And again, I rolled my eyes. Now I'm re-thinking that whole scene. Because at least my school didn't clamp a GPS tracker on my kid for not showing up to school.



That's what they're doing at California's Anaheim Union High School District. Kids in the seventh and eighth grades with four or more unexcused absences are being assigned GPS trackers to carry. The kids get a phone call each morning from the school system reminding them to get their butts to school. AND throughout the day, they're required to enter a code tracking their location.



OK. OK. I get it. Truancy is bad. It's a direct warning sign that a kid is in danger of being a dropout. Figures from 2008 (the latest available from the U.S. Department of Education) show an estimated 8 percent of kids 16 and up are high school dropouts, with no diploma and no GED. So it's no wonder they're taking it very seriously in Anaheim.



But GPS trackers? This isn't Oz! The average seventh grader is just 12 or 13 years old. If they're skipping school, there is probably a bigger problem than their location at one particular time (which I should note Anaheim is also addressing with a counselor who calls the kids three times a week -- I wish they'd left it at that).



At the root of most of these GPS programs -- whether it's a school district slapping one on or the parent-purchased kiddie trackers out there on the market -- is a sign that the adults don't trust the kids. Is it warranted by the kids' actions? Absolutely. But it doesn't make the children more trustworthy, it let's them know you care more about their behavior than the reason behind it. It's a deconstructive way of getting kids to behave.



Look at it this way. You tell a kid you want them to brush their teeth. But instead of something constructive -- explaining to them why they need to brush, bribing them with rewards, taking them to the dentist for a look-see -- you hold them down and brush their teeth for them anyway. What did the kid learn? Nothing. And what did you learn about why they aren't brushing? Exactly!



Counseling truant kids is the right answer, not dehumanizing them.



Would you let the school track your child?



http://thestir.cafemom.com/teen/116528/n...







Ok so we've talked about doing this as a parent, but now we may not have a choice? IMO? Ludicrous.

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Krista - posted on 02/22/2011

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Katherine, just to make life easier for yourself, when you re-post something from CafeMom, why not preface it with "Re-posted from CafeMom" so that you don't continually get people thinking that you're the author?

Barb - posted on 02/23/2011

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Maybe my comprehension is off again, but i don't think they are going to take little straight A Johnny who never missed a day, who suddenly misses 4 days for an out of state funeral and slap a GPS device on him without talking to his parents and having them agree with it. Especially since i read in there that this is a voluntary program.

It seems to me this program is designed as a tool for the school and parents who are struggling with repeatedly truant child and this is a last ditch effort before the authorities are called in.

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2011

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"Who is to say Johnny didn't borrow your phone and send that in, then go shopping? Lol!"

Aha, that's what PIN numbers on phones are for!!! So no-one else can use it :D

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2011

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At my son's school (he is 13), we can text their absence, and as long as we use the mobile phone the school has registered for the parent, put our child's full name and class, as well as the reason for absence, we don't need to send a note. If we overlook doing this, shortly after roll call time, a text message will come to my phone advising me that my son was absent. I have to respond to that text OR I can send a note in with my son the next day. The text message has now become their documentation. It is an automated system, I find that interesting :)

I don't agree with a GPS tracker. If a child is a truant, that tracker may make them stay around the school, but it certainly is not going to make them learn. Counselling is definitely a better way to get to the root of the problem. A 95% attendance rate doesn't mean a 95% *I give a fuck about my education* rate. A much better way of tackiling truancy is tackling the actual problem causing the truancy, not the truancy itself.

Isobel - posted on 02/22/2011

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if attendance increased from 77% to 95%, I'd say it WAS pretty successful...I still wouldn't let them do it to my kid.

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Jenn - posted on 02/24/2011

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Sorry - yes I was aware you didn't write this Katherine - I was referring to the blogger.

Soky - posted on 02/24/2011

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I dont think its bad at all. I think the school are doing the best job they can to make sure that the kids are going safe to school. They expect kids to show up and if the parents dont call then they would think hey maybe the child went to school and walked off or got kidnapped. Its a safety precaution. I MUCH RATHER have the school call me when I forget to call the school and know that the school ARE KEEPING TRACK OF ALL THEIR STUDENTS than to not call you when the kids are at home safe... what if one day the child went to school and got abducted and the school didnt report them not being in school?

I like the idea of the GPS. I wanna know where my child is at all times when she is not around me so whatever happens we know where she is at. I rather be SAFE THAN SORRY...

Katherine - posted on 02/23/2011

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I still think this is a parents responsibility and not the schools. There are boundaries here that are being crossed.

Barb - posted on 02/23/2011

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I agree Jodi. I'd also like to point out, in the article i posted they specifically mentioned this is NOT a device that is attached to the child. They did not want to "criminalize" the child by having them wear a device.

I believe this is more of a gentle, "we know where you are and we care that you are in school, don't forget what the consequences are for not being there"

Jodi - posted on 02/23/2011

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I think you are right Barb.



I am also hoping that instead of just pulling out the GPS and slapping that on the kid, they explore some of the reasons of WHY it may be happening and address that first.

Barb - posted on 02/22/2011

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OMG!! LOL i totally read that wrong.. I read that as truancy had increased to 95%..

Wow, i guess i should have had more coffee.. now it makes more sense.. never mind.. don't mind me..

Iridescent - posted on 02/22/2011

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We took our oldest out of school for a week to go deer hunting. Not a problem, did his homework while he was gone. We missed 2 extra days for the whole family to leave to visit family for Thanksgiving, or we wouldn't have been able to go (too far). Again, no problem. When appointments are scheduled, I call the school and we set it up, because if my kids aren't going to be there the staff for them isn't needed for that purpose either. A text could so easily be abused as counting a parent as being aware and sending it! Who is to say Johnny didn't borrow your phone and send that in, then go shopping? Lol!

Iridescent - posted on 02/22/2011

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Absolutely NOT! Absences happen for a lot of reasons, the least of which is skipping. What constitutes unexcused? It varies from one district to the next. So the family went to a funeral across the country and kiddo missed 4 days of school, and this school doesn't excuse those. Yay, GPS! NO! Why not just put them on house arrest while they're at it?

The reason behind the parent GPS locator (for me) was not to track my child continuously or to make them accountable every minute of the day. I trust them as they are each developmentally able. But just in case something were to happen TO them, I want to be able to find them; this is a situation we pray never happens in the child's lifetime, but which very possibly could. It's a very different reasoning.

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2011

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I refuse to take my kids to the doctor for every little thing too. And as far as I am concerned if *I* decide my kids are off school for the day, that should be a good enough reason. I have taken my kids out of school for various reasons other than family emergencies or illness (heck, last year I let my 5 year old stay home a couple of times just because she was tired.....she was only in Kindergarten) and that should be ok!!!



I took the kids out of school for 2 weeks a couple of years ago just so we could have a family holiday :D THAT should be seen as ok too.

[deleted account]

I also don't send a note in when my kid has been absent (well, I did once this year, but they've been absent at least half a dozen times). The only excused absence is one w/ a doctor's note and I refuse to send my kids to the doctor for every single tummy ache or case of green snot JUST to get the note. If they need to go to the doc... I'll take them, but not just to get the note.... which is what I'd be doing it for 90% of the time.

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I would not be sending my kids to that school.

What I find a tad ridiculous is what the girls school just started doing this year. When the kids are absent the parent is supposed to call the office in the morning. I do that. Always have. Now though, I get an automated call from the school in the evening letting me know that my kid was absent from school. Well, DUH, that's kind of why I CALLED. I 'get' why they do that, but I think they should be able to NOT call the parents that have already called in. Makes me want to quit calling the offfice cuz really, what's the point? ;)

Rosie - posted on 02/22/2011

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yeah, if it increased i'd say it was successful as well. interesting though, i can't see how knowing where the kid is is going to make a difference. wonder why?

Barb - posted on 02/22/2011

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I googled for more information on this subject. I gained this information out of this article:



http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/114810/2...



According to this article, this is a completely voluntary trial program the parents and students can sign up for. Obviously the parents would need to admit there is a truancy problem with their child and want to work with the school to help keep their child safe by at least knowing where they are while they solve this issue.



This is discouraging however:



"However, in places where the technology has been adopted, like San Antonio and Baltimore, the average attendance among truants increased from 77 percent up to 95 percent during the six-week program."



If it didn't work in those areas, why are they trying to implement it in more?

Becky - posted on 02/22/2011

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GPS trackers are definitely going too far! So what do they do, if the child doesn't show up at school and they find out they're hanging out down at the 7/11, do they send a cop car out to pick them up and bring them to school? (Actually, that'd be kinda funny... :) What if the child doesn't show up because she's in court because she was raped or is getting an abortion... that's quite the invasion of privacy!
My kids aren't in school yet, but I'm pretty sure that here you're supposed to call in first thing in the morning if your child is going to be absent. I don't know if they call you if you don't call.

Brandi - posted on 02/22/2011

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Way too far! This is crazy. I think by the 8th unexcused absence, you as a parent should have to have a meeting with Child Services because it looks to me like you aren't doing your job as a parent. Maybe that child shouldn't be living with you....

JuLeah - posted on 02/22/2011

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Humm ... kids that don't wanna be tracked will find a way around this becuase you can't regulate how a person feels about something ... as you said, you can make effort to understand it ... and in understanding, maybe solve the problem.
I have ASKED kids why they skip school ... one bathroom for 300 girls and you risk you life to go in, plus it is so dirty and no tp.
Teacher's don't notice if you're not there
books all busted up ya can't read em anyway
Gotta stay home and take care of my little brother who is home sick
city bus too packed and didn't stop for me
gotta work
make more money on the streets
school not safe
don't learn nothing anyway
mom said I don't have to go
mom needs me at home while she works

Rosie - posted on 02/22/2011

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i guess i don't understand WHY the GPS? what purpose does it serve? they already know that the kid isn't at school, right? soooooo, WTF? what is it going to do, how does it help with truancy? i don't get it.

here, we call our child in, and if that doesn't happen we get a call wondering where they are (in case of abduction, or someone sleeping in, etc.).

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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Surely though, if a parent rings in and tells the school why the child isn't coming in, there'd be no need to send a note afterwards?

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Sending the note after the fact is to determine if the absence was "excused" or not. There are only certain reasons kids can miss school without being penalized...sickness, family emergency. A kid has to have 10 unexcused absences before they are in jeopardy of failing. But then again, the district I'm in doesn't have a huge truancy problem. I honestly can't remember what the policy was in the two schools where I was a student teacher. I do know that those two schools each had their own truancy officer...so maybe phone calls and home visits were done.

Bonnie - posted on 02/22/2011

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They can use the money for more important things IMO. What? I don't know right now, but i'm pretty sure the schools could use something more productive like more supplies, computers, etc.
Not to mention the lack of privacy that having a GPS on you would create.

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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I wouldn't let them use GPS on my child.

Here, we have to call to let the school know if our kids aren't going to be in school, I would imagine that if my child didn't turn up to school, the school would inform me. I don't see the point in having to send a note after the fact.

Tara - posted on 02/22/2011

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Not in a million years. Invasion of privacy anybody?
So what happens when the kid just forgets the damn thing??!!!
Or just chooses not to type in their code? Will they be placed in custody until they will go to school?
Counselling kids on why they are not willing to attend, solving those problems is a much better route to take to curb truancy. This is just bullshit. I wonder which GPS maker will benefit from this policy? More money on stupidity and not education.

Isobel - posted on 02/22/2011

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By the way, the reason we call is to make sure the child didn't disappear on the way to school...so sending a note AFTER their absence would do no good for our volunteer group...this woman "rolling her eyes" kinda ticks me off a little

Isobel - posted on 02/22/2011

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I am part of the safe arrival volunteer group at my kids' school so I am the person who gets to go through ALLof the calls from the parents to warn that a child is absent and of the class lists to see who is absent and late...then try to call all the parents whose kids are marked absent without their parent calling or sending a note...

it's a long difficult job, and I hate it, and I've terrified a couple of parents whose kid just slipped in late without signing in...THAT sucks.

but no...no GPS for my kid, thank you.

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Jenn, where I am most parents send a note with their child once the child returns to school after being absent.

And yeah, GPS trackers are totally uncalled for. Too Big Brother-ish. Counseling is tough...dealing with humans is tough. The school is taking the easy road with the trackers...the easy road that won't solve the problem.

Jenn - posted on 02/22/2011

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GPS is going too far. But my question is - why is the school calling to see where the child is? Is it not your responsibility to call the school to inform them if your child is sick? I don't see why you'd be laughing. Laughing at your irresponsibility? Laughing at your disrespect for the school system? If you are not going to show up at work due to illness, do you not call them ASAP to let them know?

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