Gordon County schools testing new student tracking system on school buses
Many parents that have children who take the bus to and from school worry about whether their children got off the bus at the right stop. But in Gordon County, Geary Cooper is testing a system, he believes, will help alleviate those concerns.“It is one of the greatest ideas I’ve seen in a long time,” said Cooper, the transportation director of the Gordon County School District. “Each child has a card that is attached to their backpack and if they enter on the steps of the bus a reader reads it and it sends it to my computer. Parents can also sign up and get a message sent to their phone that their child has entered the bus.”
But that is just the beginning. Right now if a student falls asleep on a school bus and misses his or her stop, the driver might not know until the end of his route. But Cooper said with the Student Connect card and the reader system, that is no longer an issue.
“If this card passes off at the wrong spot, it automatically notifies the driver. If they are carrying the card and they are participating in the program, it will recognize the child. Let’s say there are eight kids that are on the bus and all eight are participating and only six get off, the system will light up a light because there are still two students that remain on the bus,” said Cooper.
Cooper said the program is voluntary and it costs parents nothing, but can benefit them in many ways.
“We don’t allow children 8 years and younger to get off the bus without a parent present, they are too young. That is a great tool for people in cold weather, they can stay in the house and get a text message the bus is five minutes from the stop,” said Cooper.
Cooper said the information is encrypted so parents shouldn’t be worried about a predator getting access to information about their child.
“There is no way for you to hack into anyone else’s information or login. Each parent has the capability of logging in and setting their password and it is specially sent to them,” Cooper said.
If everything goes according to plan, Gordon County hopes to equip all 108 of its buses by the end of the year.
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