Getting Safer With Smart Tags

Getting Safer With Smart Tags

Lauren Benton

Student safety and whereabouts have always been concerns of parents around the school district. In order to combat these concerns, Conroe ISD recently released their new system, Smart Tags, to schools throughout the last week.

First introduced as a concept in Aug. 2022 and discussed again in Feb. 2023 on Conroe ISD’s YouTube Update, Smart Tags are described as a way for the district to ensure students are boarding and leaving their respective buses at their proper stops. Through this system, parents will be able to know their students’ whereabouts on the buses, and with an additional feature, they will also be able to enable notifications that will alert them when the bus is approaching their homes. The Smart Tags aren’t without their flaws, however. If kept near cellphones and computers, the tags are at risk of losing their functionality due to the proximity to the devices’ magnets. 

“I haven’t had any issues with my tag so far, but I know multiple people whose tags have stopped working because they were not informed,” said senior Sam James. “It seems like only a few groups of students were told [about how the tags can stop working] sadly.”

Smart Tags were distributed at College Park on Feb. 22, 2023. In order to practice using their new tags, students were released ten minutes earlier than the usual bell at the end of the day, however the issue of lost functionality was quickly noticed. When students were boarding their buses, many found that their tags were unable to be scanned if they had previously had them in close proximity to technology.

“The tags have made boarding the bus take much longer than usual, especially in the mornings,” said James. “Now that the weather’s getting warmer, the longer time it will take to board the bus is going to become very annoying.

At College Park, there has also been additional discussion about requiring students to wear their Smart Tags at all times in order to assure only the appropriate students are present at all times. If this plan is put into place, it will begin at the start of the 2023-2024 school year. So far, reception to the plan has been mixed: while some students and faculty feel that it is excessive, others feel more neutral about it.

“I know a lot of people dislike [the tags], but in my opinion, I don’t think they’re that bad,” sophomore Zully Gonzalez said. “The only negative thing about them is people seeing your yearbook photo.”