A school district in Washington State is getting blowback from parents for implementing a policy that requires student-athletes to wear tracking monitors on their ankles without informing them or asking for consent.
Eatonville High School, located in Pierce County, Washington, is requiring some student-athletes and coaches to wear tracking monitors on their ankles during practices as a way to contact trace in the event of a positive COVID-19 case, as well as to measure the proximity of players to others during practices and how long they were close to them. The trackers would theoretically give coaches and school administrators instant data on which players have or have not tested positive for COVID-19.
The Eatonville School District said parents were informed with an invitation to a parent meeting, communication from the coach of their sport, and a parent consent form. However, it is unclear if the school received consent from all parents, as one mother said she “was not informed nor signed any consent paperwork.” The website reports that the mother said the school’s athletic director acknowledged a “slip up” in not first getting her consent, and that the school asked her daughter to remove the device before her mother’s arrival and would only allow limited photos to be taken of the device.
The devices were not mentioned in the district’s back-to-school policies for the fall semester.
Jason Ostendorf, who has a son playing football and a daughter playing volleyball, both of whom are sophomores, is concerned that the school district is mandating that student-athletes wear the monitors. “It’s just one more thing they’re doing to the kids through this whole COVID thing,” he said. “The vaccine…now be tracked when you’re at practice. Where does this end?”
Eatonville School District Superintendent Gary Neal disputed that the purpose of the monitors was segregating students due to COVID-19 concerns, stating,
“We received grant funding (known as ESSER III) that specifically included provisions to support higher-risk athletics programs, and we used some of those funds to pay for athletic proximity monitors. We are using these monitors for high-contact and moderate-contact indoor sports. The monitors are for both staff (coaches), and students on the field, regardless if they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. If a student or coach tests positive, we will have immediate information regarding athletes’ and coaches’ contacts, so we can more tightly determine who might need to quarantine.”
The school board will convene a meeting this week to discuss the tracking monitors.
Remember when the strategy to manage COVID was social distancing for two weeks to flatten the curve? Now schools are putting ankle monitors on students. Whether the school informed parents or not doesn’t make this situation any better.
College and professional sports teams use these types of devices to monitor athletes and improve performance, but forcing kids to wear ankle monitors to track who they’ve been around on the field? COVID “mitigation” has reached the level of dystopian sci-fi novel. Parents should stand up against this unsettling encroachment on privacy. Each time authorities are given more liberty-reducing ground in the name of protecting everyone from COVID, the more ground they take.
As the one parent asked: Where does this end? Unfortunately, if Americans don’t start standing up and pushing back, the answer may very well be: The point where the state and its proxies have taken control of every decision related to your body, your job, your property, and your children.