School puts microchip bracelets plan on hold

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014
IAIN MCGREGOR

Swannanoa School is reconsidering its plan to issue microchip bracelets to pupils. Parents, including Emma Goodin, were concerned.

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Swannanoa School has put a hold on its controversial microchip bracelet scheme for tracking student behaviour.

After The Press revealed details of the $7000 scheme yesterday, the school admitted its communication with parents was poor.

Pitched as a digital star chart for good behaviour, the silicone bracelets would be worn by students and scanned by teachers to give points on an electronic score board.

At a press conference last night, acting principal Kate McClelland said the school was "pausing" the programme but not abandoning it. "We will not progress this aspect of our positive behaviour programme until all parents are happy with it."

Failing 100 per cent consensus from parents, she said an "opt out" might be provided for parents not happy with the plan.

McClelland promised meetings with parents and clearer information in the school newsletter. If the bracelets did go ahead, parents would need to sign a consent form for their child to wear one.

Parent Emma Goodin, who opposed the scheme, said she was pleased the school was listening to parent feedback.

"I'd be happier if they said they were trashing it altogether. . ."

Goodin felt the school had not been forthcoming with details and despite raising her concerns on Friday, her child was measured for a bracelet on Monday.

Parent Teacher Association member Brenda Richardson said she supported the microchip scheme and her 6-year-old daughter was keen to take part.

Richardson said the children should be allowed to decide if they wanted to wear the bracelet, and was happy for her daughter to make up her own mind.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she was not comfortable with the bracelet scheme, but it was a matter for the board to deal with.

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- The Press

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