TWIN FALLS — Parents will be able to track their students at school next year.
During a Monday meeting, the Twin Falls School District Board of Trustees approved a policy outlining devices parents can use to track their students at schools.
The policy requires parents who wish to use a device get permission from a principal and disable listen-in technology features while their student is in class.
This is a way to keep up with changing technology and remain forward thinking, said Eva Craner, the district’s public relations director.
“We’re trying to be proactive and make sure that we have a guidelines for different types of things that might come up,” Craner said.
The district was approached last year by parents who were interested in using technology to keep track of their students with special needs who have a high propensity to wander. The district requested the Idaho School Board Association, an independent policy making group, develop a policy to fit the circumstances.
One popular tracking device is AngelSense, which provides a GPS locator and a two-way listening system that allows parents to communicate with their child. The policy allows such devices but requires listen-in technology be turned off at school and affiliated events in an attempt to protect privacy rights for other students.
“We can’t just think about the individual, we have to think about the entire classroom,” Craner said. “Especially in classrooms with students with special needs, all of the students have privacy rights that we need to make sure are accounted for.”
It’s unlikely many parents will use the devices, but it’s a necessary safety precaution for those who need it, said Charmaine Thaner of Collaborate Special Education Advocacy.
“I think it behooves the district to want to keep their students safe,” Thaner said.
The policy was sent out by Idaho School Board Association as part of their quarterly policy updates. Other districts could choose to adopt the policy for the upcoming school year.