Future Tense

Brazilian City Tries To Fight Truancy With GPS-Equipped School Uniforms

A Brazilian city has issued uniforms with GPS microchips to cut down on truancy, according to SmartPlanet. Each student’s T-shirt carries a chip that generates a text message alerting parents when the student arrives at school—or doesn’t show up. Twenty thousand of the 43,000 students in the public school system of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, began wearing the tech-enhanced uniforms this week. All 43,000 students, ages 4-14, will wear the uniforms by the end of 2013, according to the Associated Press. The city created this system because parents had no idea how often their kids skipped school: “They would always be surprised when told of the number times their children skipped class,” an official told the AP.

Vitoria da Conquista is not the first to use geo-location data to track schoolchildren. A Japanese company built GPS tracking devices into school blazers in 2005, says Engadget.

This takes the term “helicopter parent” to a whole new level.

The school says that students are unable to deactivate the GPS. However, it seems a determined truant could easily determine a workaround—for instance, wearing her uniform to school and then changing, leaving the incriminating T-shirt in her locker. Next stop: injecting trackers under the skin, maybe? Probably not … for at least a little while.