School suspends microchip plan

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 17:43, July 31 2014
Swannanoa School is reconsidering its plan to issue microchip bracelets to pupils. Parents, including Emma Goodin, were concerned.
IAIN MCGREGOR

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

A North Canterbury primary school has put a hold on its controversial microchip bracelet programme.

At a press conference at Swannanoa School this evening, acting principal Kate McClelland said the school admitted its communication with parents could have been better.

"We may not have communicated all the information about the wrist bands," she said.

The school was backing off on the topic but would continue with the programme.

McClelland promised parents would be better informed and kept in the loop.

"We will not progress this aspect of our positive behaviour programme until all parents are happy with it," she said.

Signed parental consent forms would be required for each student to wear a microchip bracelet.

McClelland said if there was not 100 per cent consensus there might be an "opt out" for parents.

Swannanoa School wanted to use silicon bracelets as part of a scheme to reward good behaviour, minutes from a Parent Teacher Association meeting show.

Under the scheme, teachers would use portable scanners to add points to a student's online good behaviour chart with a reward when a certain amount of points was accumulated.

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The school said the scheme would cost $7000 to set up. 

The Ministry of Education said it did not recommend the bracelets and would expect broad parent support before it was adopted by the school.

Yesterday, mother-of-two Emma Goodin said she did not want her children "treated like grocery items or criminals". She said parents had not been consulted, but her son said he had his wrist measured at school on Monday.

"I don't like the idea of my children being scanned," Goodin said.

 - © Fairfax NZ News

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