Students boarding the wrong school bus and getting somewhat lost is apparently a problem large enough to merit bus passes that keep tabs on youngsters in Denver using GPS technology.
Students attending Denver Public Schools, except high school students, received a card as part of the new +Pass program. They scan this card when boarding and getting off the bus, allowing parents and administrators to track their transportation in real time. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)
KCNC-TV reported that parents like Kanesha McBath are thrilled about the tracking, especially because her own daughter once boarded the wrong bus.
“I was watching all the kids come off the bus and she didn’t come, so I knew something was wrong,” McBath told the local news staiton. “I panicked, I cried and I was told, ‘Wait at the school.’ I couldn’t go get her.”
Last year when implementation of the GPS tracking program called "+ Pass" was announced in Denver Public Schools, ahead of the 2013-2014 school year, more parents expressed that it would give them peace of mind.
"Knowing where my child is, is super important and knowing that is priceless," mother of three Yolanda Brown told KUSA-TV in the spring. "Peace of mind allows you to be able to rest at night."
With the system now in full swing, KCNC reported it has been well received.
“It’s been great. They love scanning. They get on, they scan it, they’re happy. They can do it themselves. It’s great. We don’t lose any kids, that’s for sure,” bus driver Delissa Gaines told KCNC.
Watch KCNC's report about the program:
What about Big Brotherish concerns regarding student tracking?
In an FAQ about the program, the school also emphasized the district was not collecting data on students off the bus.
"The only data that is transmitted to a secure database is the time, date and location a student enters and exits the school bus. +Pass card readers for students are not located anywhere else on campus except inside the school bus," the FAQ stated.
How the student-bus tracking system works. (Image source: Denver Public Schools)
It also said data collected by the program is accessed by transportation officials, school administrators and parents/guardians through a secure portal.
Implementing the system, which started in April and was completed this month, cost about $840,000, some of which was offset by grant funding, KUSA reported.
Watch the Denver Public School promo video about the +Pass program:
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.