A local school district will implement a new program where grade school students will be forced to wear bracelets at school and at home so the district can monitor the child’s activity.
Big Brother Is Watching
PARKWAY SCHOOL DISTRICT/SUBMITTED PHOTO Fifth-grader Jennifer McGee and Amy Sydnor, the physical education and health teacher at Ross Elementary School in Creve Coeur, show off a Polar active monitor. (St. Louis Today)
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Missouri Education Watchdog wonders if this controversial policy was ever approved by parents?
St. Louis Today reported:
When is the line crossed between better health and surveillance?
In early 2012, wristwatch-like devices called Polar active monitors will be used by older students in PE classes at all 18 Parkway elementary schools. District officials say the devices should help improve the students’ fitness and academic achievement.
Later this school year, the district plans to collect data about activity levels and even sleep patterns for a week at a time. It will have the students wear the devices round the clock.
Some parents and legal experts are raising privacy concerns about at least that aspect of the program.
Ron Ramspott, coordinator of health, outdoor and physical education for Parkway, said a pilot project started in April provided the monitors during physical education classes to students at Henry and Ross elementary schools. Shenandoah Valley Elementary School in Chesterfield joined the pilot in August.
At the district’s Dec. 7 Board of Education meeting, the board approved expanding the project beyond the pilot phase. For the program starting this year at all elementary schools, the district will target grades four and five initially, Ramspott said.
The monitors measure activity by tracking every movement of the person wearing them. They display steps taken, calories spent and time spent at various levels of activity. An animated figure on the monitor indicates the activity level. A bar shows the target time for doing moderate to vigorous activity and the amount of time achieved at that level.