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44,000 School Buses Use “FirstACTS” To Secretly Identify And Track The Behavior of 5 Million Students

December 2, 2020

This article was originally published at Mass Private I

A Scottish company called FirstGroup uses 44,000 First Student school buses to secretly monitor the behavior of more than 5 million students.

First Student school buses come equipped with mirror grids,Wi-Fi, two-way radios and surveillance cameras.

Just as the transportation industry continuously improves passenger bus safety, we at First Student also look for ways to improve driver safety and comfort and bus drivability. The First Student school bus isn’t what you saw on the road five years ago; it’s more advanced, comfortable and reliable.

 

What makes First Student school bus surveillance so “advanced, comfortable and reliable”? Is their ability to record and track an individual student’s behavior in real-time.

All of First Student’s 44,000 school buses come equipped with their proprietary “Active Conduct Tracking System” or FirstACTS.

FirstACTS- School bus behavior active conduct tracking system

According to FirstACTS, they provide administrators with student misbehavior trend data and a student’s individual behavior history as soon as they step onto a school bus.

The types of things a student can be reported for reads like an inmate information handbook.

According to the video, FirstACTS allows administrators to file incident reports for things like “student insubordination, excessive talking, profanity, eating or drinking and possession of injurious articles.” Which is defined as “bringing articles of injurious or objectionable nature aboard the bus,” whatever that means.

Curiously, or perhaps by design, they failed to mention that law enforcement probably has access to this data.

As FirstACTS Buffalo, New York explains,

FirstACTS connects all stakeholders – the driver, the parent, the school district – to identify, communicate and quickly resolve student behavior management issues.

A Buffalo, New York FirstACTS training document is a little more revealing.

Student conduct issues on even a single bus route can throw off the whole school day for students, parents or caregivers, and school officials.

“School officials” can include law enforcement.

Law enforcement could use FirstACTS to view “preloaded student” information as a student enters a school bus, without the student[s] or their families knowledge.

  • Preloaded student and driver information makes it easy to report student behavior incidents.
  • Student incident histories can be easily searched to quickly identify trends for prompt action.
  • Timely information provided to you quickly after the event, with the option to upload into your Student Information System.
  • Administrators identify appropriate personnel to receive incident notifications and reports, ensuring privacy.

Authorities also use FirstACTS to “confidentially” track a student’s behavior histories.

The application is safe and secure, allowing you to confidentially track student behavior history, identify trends, and send incident reports to the appropriate personnel.

The sheer scale of FirstACTS secret student behavior surveillance program is a mind-boggling.

According to First Student, there are also 1,100 school districts secretly spying on the behavior of more than 5 million children. This makes Florida’s secret law enforcement schoolkid criminal grading system look like child’s play (pun intended).

Why are we letting school officials and law enforcement create secret behavior management profiles of our children? Will law enforcement and airlines use behavior management profiles to blacklist a child or put them on a no-fly list?

It is stories like this that force all of us to question why we are allowing police into our schools.

 

 

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Brandon Smith

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