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Bentonville schools implement new app alerting parents of bus routes

Every student enrolled in the Bentonville School District will be given a student name badge they use to scan when they board and get off a school bus.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — One school district in Arkansas is trying to waste the mind of parents whose children ride the bus to and from school every day.

It's called Transportant, a system that literally tracks your child when and where they get on and off the bus. The hope is students won't get lost riding the bus.

Every student enrolled in the Bentonville School District will be given a student name badge they use to scan when they board and get off a school bus.

Jason Salmons, the director of transportation for the district, explains how each of those swipes will be sent to an app that parents and guardians can download this fall.

"The parents will get a communication that Jason has boarded Bus 124. When students get to school or their final destination when they swipe off the bus the parents again in the app will get a message that Jason has now gotten off Bus 124," Salmons said.

Allison Teters is a parent of three in the Bentonville School District who says she's thrilled with the new system.

"It’s nice to know that I know that he’s on the bus, he’s on his way home and I get that confirmation that he’s off the bus," she said. "It definitely is reassuring knowing that I know where he’s at and he’s not in a car line thinking I’m picking him up."

Teters says the timing of the system couldn't have been better, because this is the first year her two school-aged sons will be separated, with her oldest son now being in middle school.

"Last year I had the comfort of them 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 time and they don’t know if the driver is there, they don’t if the bus is running... they literally have to get everybody dressed go to the bus stop and wait," he said. "The bus may show up, the bus may not."

But, Salmons says that when the bus starts the route, parents will get a notification then, too. 

The caveat to this system is for students to remember to bring their badges in order for it to work and may take a few months for kids to get used to.

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 about adding the system.

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