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One California school district volunteered for a six-week program that tracks students with unexcused absences using GPS devices

While riding on a parade float singing "Twist and Shout" sounds like a better time than going to school, students might want to rethink their plans for a Ferris Bueller-like rendezvous now that a California school district is using GPS units to track students with a poor attendance history. 

The Anaheim Union High School District has volunteered to be apart of a six-week program, which aims to reduce the number of unexcused absences by equipping seventh and eighth grade students who have a poor attendance record with handheld GPS devices. Reducing the number of absences a student has saves the school district money. Every time a student misses class, the school loses $35.

The program works by assigning GPS units to students with more than three unexcused absences. After receiving the GPS device, students are sent an automated phone call every school day to remind them to get up and go to school. They must enter a code five times a day in order to activate the device and track their location. They must enter the code on their way to school, once they arrive, during lunch, on their way home from school and at 8 p.m. In addition, a coach is assigned to each student in order to make sure that they are where they're supposed to be doing what they're supposed to do. 

"This is their last chance at an intervention," said Kristen Levitin, principal at Dale Junior High in West Anaheim. "Anything that can help these kids get to class is a good thing."

The district has 75 students participating in the program. Those participating are able to avoid other consequences that the school may have otherwise administered had the students' not volunteered. After the six-week program is over, district officials will make the decision to either expand the program to other high schools and junior highs or dismiss it. 

Some parents are having a hard time accepting the program rules, saying that it seems a bit harsh.

"I feel like they come at us too hard, and making kids carry around something that tracks them seems extreme," said Raphael Garcia, who has a sixth grade student in the district with six unexcused absences. 

The GPS units cost $300-$400 each, and parents must replace them if they are lost or broken. The total cost of the program is about $18,000, which is funded by a state grant. 



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Parental discipline, anyone?
By RamsayGetLost on 2/21/2011 10:09:03 PM , Rating: 5
Can we not just go back to the good old days when parents were allowed to physically discipline their children for being out of line?

It bothers me that parents who physically discipline their children these days run the risk of being reported for "child abuse".

I don't condone beating a child, by any means. I'm referring to structured disciplinary action whose scope is mutually understood by both parent and child.

A society in which the government regulates a parent's ability raise their child frightens me.




RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By omnicronx on 2/21/2011 10:38:01 PM , Rating: 1
Kids have long skipped school long before it was 'socially unacceptable' to hit your child.

Not too sure about you, but I was disciplined as a child anytime I skipped school. They both worked during the day like most parents these days, and its not exactly easy to keep tabs on your kid 24/7, regardless of your parenting skills.

Not exactly sure what the GPS is going to do though, many schools already employ automated phoning systems when your child misses school. If you are not all school and you don't have any kind of excuse (on more than one occasion), you don't need a GPS to know they are skipping.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By someguy123 on 2/21/2011 10:45:37 PM , Rating: 5
I'm assuming the idea is to eventually have some drones seek out your children via GPS and drag them back to class.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By YashBudini on 2/21/2011 10:57:47 PM , Rating: 3
Can you hear me now? Oh crap, you can!

Can I switch to Sprint? Fewer bars.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Zingam on 2/26/2011 3:17:52 AM , Rating: 2
Better shoot them...


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By someguy123 on 2/21/2011 10:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I'd be for this if it wasn't for the fact that we're in already in massive debt and this would just add to it if instituted nationally.

I mean, it's law to attend school until a varying age (dependent on state), so it's not like truancy is a right being stripped. Parental discipline is something that many neglect, but even with good discipline your children are not free from peer pressure. At least with this they'll have an excuse for the cool kiddies who're trying to cut class.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By lolmuly on 2/22/2011 12:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
while i agree that cost is certainly an issue, I would say that a tablet computer to replace textbooks that also had this gps functionality would likely reduce costs over all.


By ShaolinSoccer on 2/22/2011 3:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
Dropping a book is one thing. Dropping a tablet, well, that's quite expensive. At least for now...


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Parhel on 2/21/2011 10:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know of anywhere in the US where spanking is illegal, nor am I aware of any case where ordinary spanking was successfully prosecuted as child abuse. Clearly, laws need to exist to punish child abusers, and I'm sure children have reported ordinary spanking to the authorities, but it's hardly new and not exactly an epidemic.

I do think that some of this new age "naughty-mat" psychological bullshit is like torture for toddlers. Long, drawn out, and cruel. If that's what you're getting at, then I agree completely. But I've only spanked once or twice, and it's been for the big stuff where they knew it was wrong before they did it. Most of the time, I only have to yell, and that's the end of it. Spanking should really be a last resort, and only for very young children.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
It's a bit beside the point, spanking delinquent 7th and 8th graders isn't going to keep them from skipping school.. They are a bit too old for that to be effective.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By wordsworm on 2/22/2011 6:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
How about going back to the days when teachers and principals could beat children as well? My mom told me stories about how they'd beat the tar out of her for speaking French (she was a French orphan put into an English system). That taught her quickly to stop speaking French. If we did the same thing with everyone who doesn't speak English, you'd quickly see English make a come back in the US. And if we could beat children for saying words like 'Ain't' or foul language, that would be cool, too.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Zingam on 2/26/2011 3:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
Or you might as well introduce Nazism :)


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By gmyx on 2/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By LRonaldHubbs on 2/22/2011 10:25:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
parent and child." Tell me how the child understands that? They don't - it just aggravates the situation. I know with my kids it would never work.

What's not to understand? You do what you're told or you get spanked. It's not exactly a complicated system.

According to my parents I was the only 2-year-old in my extended family that understood the word 'no'. That's because they actually disciplined me instead of giving in to tantrums. If it doesn't work on your kids then you waited to long to start disciplining them.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:25:58 AM , Rating: 2
There is no such thing as waiting too long, the failure happens if a punishment is threatened but then not carried out. It has to be consistent and it has to be made understood exactly what was done to *deserve* the punishment.

I'm not implying that spanking is the universal answer, different things work with different children like no allowance, grounding, no phone calls or internet access except for school work, no TV or video games, etc.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By bah12 on 2/22/2011 11:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
Let's say you broke a "law", stole something whatever it doesn't matter. Would you rather have 5 lashings with a whip, very painful but no irreparable damage. OR would you rather spend 6 weeks in jail?

Get off your high horse. Time-out IS ABSOLUTELY punitive, just a different type of punitive and both work to teach the concept of consequences for your action. To a child just like an adult the result is the same a quick physically painful punishment, or a long drawn out torture via loss of rights.

The catch is BOTH require escalation. That swat on the bottom that worked as a 4 year old will get laughed at by a 7 year old. On the same hand the 2 min time-out that worked at a younger age becomes 5-10 at an older age, and eventually YOU'RE GROUNDED FOR A MONTH MISTER!!

Personally I use a mix of both, sometimes even giving the child the choice. Time out of x min or a swat. My point is putative methods change, but your argument that one is some how superior is flawed. Water board torture is not physically painful, but torture nonetheless. Time-out is the same concept, and although you may not see it as such, it IS torture similar to jail.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mikeyD95125 on 2/22/2011 6:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
So where would approximate the line between physical discipline and beating a child?

Your language is very vague. Where does physical violence fit into structured discipline?


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Generally if you hear bones crunch you've gone too far. ;)

Seriously though, physical discipline should not cause bruising, blood, unconsciousness, etc. ONLY pain. Some people can't gauge their own strength or are anger-prone and do things in excess in such an emotional state, so either of these factors would be a reason not to attempt physical discipline at all.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By hsew on 2/22/2011 11:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A society in which the government regulates a parent's ability raise their child frightens me.


Even scarier is the fact that that same government is in complete control of the aforementioned child's education. And there's nothing we can do about it.


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