Students in the Anaheim Union High School District who have more than three unexcused absences are given a choice: the juvenile justice system or a small device, about the size of a pager or small cell phone equipped with GPS. It’s part of a pilot program that’s already been used in other districts in Baltimore and San Antonio. We talk with Rick Martens, Director of Child Welfare and Attendance for the Anaheim Union High School District.
He says the students are required to report in first thing in the morning to indicate that they’re awake and headed to school. They must then report in throughout the school day, their location tracked by GPS. It’s part of an overall strategy that also includes “mentors” in the community checking in with the kids by phone.
Those mentors are identified, hired, trained, and paid by a Texas company called AIM Truancy Solutions. They also sell the GPS devices to the district. And when a student checks in, the information is not sent to the district, it’s sent to this same private company. Company president Travis Knox, whom we speak with, says they’ve sold devices to over 100 schools so far.
Also in this program, cars being driven with peoples’ minds. Because what could possibly go wrong with that?
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.