Midland father at odds with daughter's school over GPS watch - WNEM TV 5

Midland father at odds with daughter's school over GPS watch

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A local father is at odds with his daughter's school district over a device designed to keep her safe.

The tracking device looks like a watch. It signals police if something happens, but Bradley Phelps said his daughter's school won't let her have it, citing concerns over the privacy of other students.

“Macy is wonderful. She is 5-years-old and this is her first year in kindergarten,” Phelps said of his daughter.

Like many parents, sending his daughter off to school is a little bittersweet for Phelps. He wants to see her grow, but said the world is a different place and he's concerned about her safety.

“My daughter is the most important thing in my life,” Phelps said.

So, Phelps bought his daughter a GPS tracking kids watch. It allows parents to know where their child is, notifies them if it's ever removed, and can send messages in a time of crisis.

“Somebody could easily drive up on school property, pretend they're a parent dropping of their kid, and easily grab your kid,” Phelps said.

However, when he brought the idea of the watch to the school district, he was told his daughter wasn't allowed to wear it while at school.

Phelps was sent a letter with the school policy stating they don't allow electronic devices that are used for communication.

“The child could wear it to and from school and keep it locked in his or her locker during classes. Also, a formal request can be made to the superintendent for a safety exception for specific children, such as those at risk of running away,” Superintendent Michael Sharrow said in a statement sent to TV5.

Phelps said the watch doesn't violate any privacy concerns and it's his right as a parent to keep his daughter safe.

“I would like to see this school say this is OK instead of blowing me off. It doesn't infringe on anyone's privacy, and let me have a piece of mind my kid is safe,” Phelps said. 

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