On Friday, Nov. 1 the San Francisco Chronicle reported the story of a local high school girl who was placed on an ankle bracelet because of excessive truancy in 2011. The girl appealed the case, arguing that truancy was not a crime and that the legal framework did not allow punishment through the use of an electronic monitor.   District Court Maria Rivera and two other justices upheld the use of the device, holding that:

“A GPS condition assists the court in monitoring a minor’s compliance with a curfew” and can be required for a youth who “continues a pattern of truancy and violates curfew.”

The use of GPS on students is but another twist of the school to prison pipeline, preparing youth in poor communities to be under the control of the state.  Amazingly, according to the Chronicle article, the court defines excessive truancy as missing four days of school in a year as “excessive” and warranting legal sanction.

This decision represents a huge victory for the companies that provide electronic monitoring devices and support services.  They are focusing considerable energy on opening up “new markets” for their technology.  This decision gives them a foot in the door of an enormous potential clientele-students of all ages.

In the meantime, the student in this case is taking her appeal to the State Supreme Court.  Watch this space for developments.

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