- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (AP) - One suburban Chicago high school has started using a new program that lets parents track when their students board and exit school buses.

Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire is one of the first schools in the nation to use the MyFirstPass system, the Daily Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1bmtdhN). Students scan an identification car before and after they ride the bus. Parents can track the students using cellphones, tablets or computers.

School spokesman Jim Conrey said the program gives “parents the option to have certainty that their student was picked up or dropped off.” He said the program is free this school year but will have a subscription fee starting in the fall.

Schools in California and Ohio also use the software, developed by First Student bus company of Cincinnati.

The school started using the system Jan. 31. Officials say about three dozen students registered the first weekend. About 1,700 of Stevenson’s 3,700 students ride the bus daily.

Civil rights advocates haven’t raised immediate privacy concerns for students. Officials said students’ personal information is confidential and kept on a password-protected website. Conrey said a Stevenson High School dean and First Student representative will have access to the data. He said school officials won’t be able to use the data to determine where particular students are at certain times.

“Parents have information about students being present at school,” said Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “This looks like an early notice of that same thing.”

First Student spokeswoman Jen Biddinger said the program will save schools and parents time.

“Knowing if and when a student got on or off the bus accounts for a significant portion of calls parents make to schools,” First Student’s Biddinger said. “MyFirstPass provides accurate and immediate answers, taking the guesswork out of the bus stop.”

Lincolnshire is northwest of Chicago.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com