GPS Tracking at Schools: Be or Not To Be

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Introduced in the early 1970s, the Global Positioning System (GPS) has been successfully adopted by a number of fields for various purposes. GPS tracking has a variety of applications these days; child safety, caring for elders and people with special needs, and employee tracking, are only to name a few. GPS devices, which come as wearable tools, can be used as bracelets and pendant. Lightweight and user-friendly, such devices play a pivotal role in child safety. Many schools and educational institutes are deploying this technology to ensure the security of the learners.

In most cases, the tracking information can be obtained from the internet via SIM cards or Wi-Fi.  Most tracking devices are available with the Bluetooth option and built-in SIM cards. Hence, users can track these GPS devices from smartphones or computers just by installing certain recommended software. GPS tracking at schools has sparked vehement debates in the society, as many people still raise a number of ethical and legal questions of such surveillance. Despite the attacks on the ground of data security, privacy, and legal issues, the use of these wearable tracking devices has surged considerably. The following segment attempts to explore some of the major aspects of GPS tracking at school.  

GPS Tracking and Field Trips

GPS tracking devices can be a boon to the field trip organisers. Most schools and academic institutes have field trips as a part of their curriculum. With GPS tracking, managing a field trip has become much easier. Whether it is an art museum, planetarium, or any open space, tracking children and managing them can be done effortlessly. From bus route management to monitoring students during the trip, GPS tracking can help educators do their task without any hassle.

School Bus Tracking

School bus tracking is a common occurrence these days. Most reputed institutes accommodate this facility to keep a track of the whereabouts of the learners. Parents and educational institutes both can benefit from this; while parents can get the mental peace, the institutes can ensure better administration. Although school bus tracking has several benefits, the privacy and security issues must be addressed carefully. Any institute seeking such services should perform a detailed security assessment test before finalising their decision. An efficient student GPS tracking system must include the following criteria:

  • Encrypted and password protected software
  • Protection against third-parties/ salespersons
  • School district’s own private database
  • Secured RFID tags that are impervious to hacking and duplication

Data privacy issues are a huge challenge when it comes to GPS tracking. As such systems are regulated by encrypted and password protected software, many people have very little knowledge regarding tracking devices. To maximise the potentials of such technology, schools and other academic institutes must be transparent regarding the various components of these devices, such as RFID tags and scanners.   

Child Safety

Safety is a major concern when it comes to children. GPS tracking enables schools to account for the safety of the children, allowing them to manage the students and cater to their emergencies. However, GPS tracking has raised a number of legal concerns both for schools and parents. Many conservative families oppose the idea of surveillance due to prejudices and religious beliefs. Although there are no strict laws against such supervisions, the privacy concerns must be addressed before implementing such systems.

Children’s rights are less pronounced than parental rights, as the latter has the constitutional rights to make critical decisions for their children. Parents must be provided with the relevant information involved in the process so that they understand the importance of installing such systems. The data involved in GPS tracking if leaked to any third-party can give rise to severe consequences. Transparency should be maintained regarding the terms and conditions of tracking system to avoid any legal hassle.

Final Thoughts

Many people think GPS tracking only cater to attendance issues. Discernibly, students GPS tracking has several applications. Apart from addressing attendance issues, GPS tracking at school can be deployed to discipline students and take actions against violation of rules. This system not only facilitates educators to manage students and account for their safety but also allows them to improve the overall productivity levels.   

As discussed above, students GPS tracking has numerous benefits, provided all the security issues are addressed prior to the implementation of the system. Many families are still sceptical about these security devices due to lack of awareness. Schools and educational institutions that are planning to install tracking devices need to create a written policy mentioning all the relevant details to generate proper awareness regarding the significance of such surveillance. Remember, this sort of tracking system requires substantial funding, so the parental voices cannot be entirely neglected. A significant data security policy should be implemented before installations to rule out potential challenges.

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