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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
parents are having a hard time accepting the program rules, saying that it
seems a bit harsh.
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
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
quote: I disagree. Let the kids decide if they want to go. If they don't want to.