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Temple ISD debut SMART Tag system on buses this fall

The digital tool will help increase safety and communication for bus riders across the district

TEMPLE, Texas — Temple ISD will soon have a new digital tool at their disposal as they continue to find ways to increase safety across the district for students.

"Having SMART Tag will allow us to provide a safer and more secure transportation system than we've been able to provide in the past," said Amy Scopac, the district's Transportation Director.

Scopac told 6 News there has not been an issue that led the district to head down this path, instead, she cited technology and tirelessly working to stay ahead of the game for the reasons why.

"We definitely live in a different day and time than we did, say, 20-years ago," she said. "This system will allow for parents to have that added level of safety and security when their kiddos do go to the bus stop."

SMART Tag was started in 2009 by a school bus monitor who saw first-hand the challenges of getting kids safely to and from school. Scopac said every time a student gets on and off the bus, they will scan a coded RFD card that will allow for bus drivers -- and even substitute drivers -- to know that the right child is getting on and off the right bus at their designated stop.

The district said they have a policy in place where all students need to be at their bus stop no later than five minutes before the bus is due to arrive. 

The app, which parents will be able to download to their smartphone, allows parents to track the bus in real-time as it travels, getting an alert when it is five minutes from their child's scheduled stop.

"The coolest feature about SMART Tag is the parent portal that it offers which allows the parent to see a live map of the bus moving while the student is on board," Scopac said. 

"It's going to prevent some things that are everyday hardships in transportation as kids try to get off at stops that aren't theirs or go home with a friend or different things like that," Scopac said. 'When students try to scan off at a stop that's not their stop, it's going to alert the driver so they are able to pay extra attention."

SMART Tag is expected to launch district-wide this fall following a pilot program launch at Raye-Allen Elementary in Spring 2022.

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