Georgia district to test bus passenger tracking system

Posted on April 16, 2013

ATLANTA — Gordon County Schools will conduct a pilot program of StudentConnect, a system that tracks school bus passengers.

Officials with East Coast Diversified Corp., parent company of StudentConnect, said that the technology provides real-time notification to parents and school transportation officials when students fail to get on the school bus, as well as when they enter or exit the bus at the wrong stop. The system also reportedly notifies parents within five minutes of bus arrival.

For the initial pilot, StudentConnect will be installed on school buses at Tolbert Elementary School. The test will be conducted for two to four weeks.

"StudentConnect will allow us to safely and effectively track the pickup and drop-off of students," said Geary Cooper, director of school transportation for Gordon County Schools. "This will also afford us a tool to monitor the pickup and drop-off times — with no expense to taxpayers or parents."

StudentConnect uses East Coast Diversified Corp.'s proprietary "wireless communication between GPS and UHF RFID interrogators" technology to deliver the notifications. Company officials said that the service is sponsored by local and corporate advertisers and is provided to school districts at no cost for hardware and ongoing communication services.

NFL defensive tackle Andre Fluellen has taken on the role of spokesperson for StudentConnect.

"It's nice to see that [the] StudentConnect pilot program will be tested near where I'm from," Fluellen said. "I know people with kids who go to school in Gordon County and are not home when the kids leave or return from school, so I'm glad to see the kids will be a bit safer, and the parents will have peace of mind."

Kirk Williams, East Coast Diversified Corp.'s chief technology officer, said that StudentConnect "adds a new dimension to child safety while riding on school buses and will bring efficiency to the management of students riding on school buses."

Other recent news on school bus stops:

District reroutes buses in response to bus stop shooting

Related Topics: Georgia, GPS, school bus security, school bus stops, software systems

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