Arkansas school district using app alerting parents to bus routes

Every student enrolled in the Bentonville School District will receive a name badge that they will use to scan when boarding and alighting a school bus.

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas — A school district in Arkansas is trying to mess with the spirits of parents whose children take the bus to and from school every day.

It’s called Carrier, a system that literally follows your child when and where they get on and off the bus. The hope is that the students will not get lost on the bus.

Every student enrolled in the Bentonville School District will receive a name badge that they will use to scan when boarding and alighting a school bus.

District transportation manager Jason Salmons explains how each of those scans will be sent to an app that parents and guardians can download this fall.

“Parents will receive a communication that Jason has boarded the 124 bus. When students arrive at school or their final destination when getting off the bus, parents back in the app will receive a message that Jason is now off the 124 bus,” Salmons said.

Allison Teters is a mother of three in the Bentonville School District and says she’s thrilled with the new system.

“It’s nice to know that I know he’s on the bus, that he’s on his way home, and that I get confirmation that he got off the bus,” she said. “It’s definitely reassuring to know that I know where he is and he’s not in a queue thinking I’m going to pick him up.”

Teters says the timing of the system couldn’t have been better, as this is the first year that her two school-aged sons will be separated, with her eldest son now in middle school.

“Last year I had the comfort of being on the same bus this year they will be on different buses,” Teter said.

Not only will this keep track of a child getting on and off buses, Salmons says the system will let parents know when the bus is on its way to the bus stop.

“Parents wake up in the morning and they don’t know if the driver is there, they don’t know if the bus is running…they literally have to get everyone dressed, go to the bus stop and wait,” did he declare. . “The bus may appear, the bus may not.”

But, Salmons says that when the bus begins the route, parents will also receive a notification.

The caveat to this system is that students don’t forget to bring their badges for it to work and it can take a few months for kids to get used to it.

Fort Smith Schools will begin installing the same system on a few buses this fall and plan to add more later. The Springdale School District, the largest district in the state, is also in talks to add the system.

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