Children in nine Austin high schools are to be given GPS tracking devices and assigned "mentors" in a program designed to prevent truancy yet one that also illustrates how kids are being treated like prison inmates.
"With parent permission, up to 1,700 students across eight high schools will be equipped with a GPS device that looks a lot like a cell phone. They will also be teamed up with a mentor who they have to check-in with using the device several times a day," reports KXAN.
The program is being overseen by Dallas-based AIM Truancy Solutions. The company boasts that the system has boosted attendance figures at other high schools by around 12 per cent.
Nine Austin schools are currently part of the program as well as other schools in San Antonio, Dallas and La Joya.
The idea of tracking kids with GPS devices and forcing them to check in with a "mentor" is not far removed from prisoners being made to wear GPS ankle bracelets and being assigned parole officers.
Austin is by no means the only city to use GPS technology to keep tabs on schoolchildren. Similar programs are in place across the country, including in Anaheim where kids are seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more in a school year are forced to carry GPS devices.
Palos Heights School District in Illinois is also using a similar system, attaching GPS locators to children's backpacks in order to "locate kids in seconds."
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