New Canaan Considers Tracking Devices for Students

In the tony town of New Canaan, students might someday get tracking tags along with their textbooks.

No decisions have yet been made, but school officials plan to look into the possibility of adding radio frequency tags to student or staff ID cards, or place them on school property, like laptops, the New Canaan Advertiser reports.

The company that makes the devices is SecureRF Corporation, based in Westport. It has applied for a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct science research and wants New Canaan High School to use the technology, the Advertiser reports.

“We are looking to test this technology with a partner,” SecureRF’s founder and chief executive officer Louis Parks Parks said during a school board meeting last week. “The primary role we are looking for from you is the feedback and input.”

The technology could be used to track people within the school, something district transportation coordinator Roy Walder said could help during an emergency, such as a fire or a school-wide evacuation, the Advertiser reports, and tracking who is coming and going from the open campus.

Of course, parents might not be thrilled about placing a tracking device on their children, Jim Kucharczyk, a board member, said.

“I can perceive parents would have an issue with tracking kids through the school and through town. … There’s a big difference between putting this on the school bus or putting it on backpacks or an ID card,” Kucharczyk said.

Student involvement would be voluntary and parents would have to agree to it, Supt. Dr. David Abbey, told the Advertiser.

So far, school board members decided only to explore the idea but they’d need more details before agreeing to participate.

Walder said there might be a potential to expand the technology to school buses to track who’s using them and reduce budget costs.

The school board will get another report in a few weeks. 

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