June 22, 2024
2 years ago

Maine school district rolling out new technology tracking student ridership on buses

WMTW Channel 8 ABC | by Terry Stackhouse | August 30, 2022

RSU 2 students will be issued RFID cards to tap onto a bus-mounted tablet when they enter and exit buses.

HALLOWELL, Maine — This week, students in RSU 2 schools will be issued RFID cards to record when they board and exit school buses.

The cards containing small computer chips will be roughly the size of a credit card or ID.

District leaders consider the system a safety enhancement but at least one parent views the technology as an invasion of privacy.

Michael Ciccarelli is a bus driver in RSU 2 and a parent of three students.

Through recent training, he learned buses will soon carry tablets for students to tap with district issued cards for the system called Tyler Drive.

“Who monitors it, right? Who can hack in and get it? Why do they need it,” Ciccarelli said.

Superintendent Matt Gilbert says the system was successfully put into practice last year in Monmouth and Richmond, two regions within the district.

The expansion of the system includes buses in Hallowell and Dresden.


“We haven’t had any issues and we’ve actually been able to use it to really speed up the process of locating kids when we’ve had situations where we’ve had a student that might be getting on the wrong bus,” Gilbert said.

The cards do not track the whereabouts of students but will record the location where students tap to enter and exit.

“As a conservative, I just don’t think my kids need to be tracked. And on the street we track our pets. We don’t need to be tracking my kids,” Ciccarelli said.

District officials say the technology is grant funded and paid for with federal coronavirus relief funds.

It was approved by the school board and superintendent with a total price tag of $45,000.

Asked about opting-out, Gilbert says no families have requested that and if concerns are raised they will meet with families individually to discuss.

Feedback to this point, he says, is from pleased parents.

“It has really put parents’ minds at ease,” Gilbert said.

If a student misplaces their card, Gilbert said it would be replaced at no cost to families.

Source: Hallowell-area schools roll out tech tracking ridership on buses (wmtw.com)

DP Editor’s Note: DavesPaper.com will be updating this article as information unfolds. Below is an information video of the “tyler drive” software program. Here’s a letter that went out to RSU #2 parents on August 30, 2022 by Katie Spear:

Katie Spear told DavesPaper.com Wednesday afternoon this letter was written a year and half ago.