Court authorities in San Antonio, Texas, will be able to track students with a history of skipping school under a new program requiring them to wear ankle bracelets using satellite technology.
But at least one group is worried the ankle bracelets, with Global Positioning System monitoring, will infringe on students’ privacy.
Linda Penn, a Bexar County justice of the peace, said she anticipates that about 50 students from four San Antonio-area school districts — likely to be mostly high schoolers — will wear the anklets during the six-month pilot program announced on Friday.
“We are at a critical point in our time where we can either educate or incarcerate,” Penn said, linking truancy with juvenile delinquency and later criminal activity. “We can teach them now or run the risk of possible incarceration later on in life. I don’t want to see the latter.”
Penn said students in the program will wear the ankle bracelets full-time and will not be able to remove them. They’ll be selected as they come through her court, and Penn will target truant students with gang affiliations, those with a history of running away and skipping school and those who have been through her court multiple times.
“Students and parents must understand that attending school is not optional,” Penn said.
Penn said the electronic monitoring is part of a comprehensive program she started four years ago to reduce truancy. She cited programs in Midland and Dallas as having success with similar electronic monitoring measures.