SMS and truancy

A mother in Wales has recently been jailed for nine weeks for failing to ensure her children attended school. This is clearly at the extreme end of the scale, and evidently there had been many attempts prior to this to help the family.

But what happens in the cases where the parents are blissfully unaware of their offspring choosing to sit in parks rather than at their desk? Some schools in Brazil have taken a rather canine approach to the situation, by placing computer chips in the school uniforms of its pupils, alerting parents by SMS text when they enter and leave the school. For the more cunning pupil, the temptation to ditch the blazer and go skipping off to the nearest shopping centre surely is too much.

A more full-proof remedy involves real-life teachers, not sensors at the school gates. Many schools that use TextMine use SMS alerts to inform parents at registration time that their child hasn’t arrived at school. This does of course help sweep the streets of tardy or reluctant students, but also could help buy some time for a pupil who has been hurt on the way to school.

SMS text messages to parents, relaying information about absence, is a really useful tool and has a big impact on reducing truancy. Certainly knowing that the school has a hotline to your parents would act as a big deterrent for the would-be free range student.