Autism

This Mother is Fighting Her Autistic Son’s School for the Right to Put a GPS Tracker on Him

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iStock_000052087714_SmallParents of small children have a lot to worry about. The parents of small children who are living with autism and have a tendency to wander away have legitimate reason to be concerned about their child’s location at all times, and a GPS tracker can be a godsend. One North Carolina mother says she was ecstatic when she found a GPS tracker specifically designed for special needs kids for her 4-year-old son, but now she says she’s fighting the school because they won’t let him wear it in class.

According to ABC News, Brianna Stanton’s 4-year-old son Zachary has autism and tends to wander away, so Stanton bought a GPS tracker that can pinpoint his exact location and also send her an alert if he leaves a predetermined area. That’s pretty great. But it also has a listening function that allows Stanton to call in and listen to whatever is going on around Zachary.

“Let’s say Zachary went missing and it lost signal, I could call the listening-in number and I could listen in and hear his surroundings, whether he’s near water or a busy street,” Stanton said.

But the listening function is against policy at Zachary’s school, because it would allow a person to listen in on the other students in his class, and the school says that violates their privacy.

“I don’t want people to think I’m fighting the school, like I’m getting back at the school, I’m doing this not just to advocate for him but other children with special needs,” said Stanton.

Stanton said she offered to turn the listening feature off, but the school said no because it could always just be turned back on later without their knowledge. If she is OK with turning the listening feature off, then it seems like she would be OK with getting Zachary a GPS tracker for school that does not have a listening function, which the school already said would be just fine.

I totally understand Stanton’s desire to keep tabs on her son and make sure he is safe, and it seems pretty far-fetched to think that she’d use the listening device to violate the privacy of other kids. But the other kids and parents in the class have rights too, and if the listening function were not going to be used, then it seems like just getting a device without the listening function would be a decent solution to the problem.

(Photo: Predrag Vuckovic/IStockPhoto/Getty Images)