A horrified Seattle-area mom confronted the athletic director at her daughter’s high school after the teen was required to wear an ankle monitor to practice with the volleyball team.
The Big Brother-like contact tracking devices for student-athletes were supposedly part of an effort to enforce COVID-19-related social distancing at Eatonville, Wash., High School. Following an outcry from parents, however, the school board has put the project on hold, for now.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends today, parent Nicci Hadman pointed out she never gave permission to install what the high school calls a proximity monitor on her volleyball-playing daughter.
“I dropped my daughter off at practice on Monday for volleyball. And she had sent me a text saying ‘hey, mom, they’re putting an ankle monitor on me. This is really weird.’ So that is how I found out,” Hadman explained.
Upon jumping in the car and heading over to the Pierce County high school, the athletic director admitted that he put the tracking monitor on Hadman’s daughter.
“He apologized and said he would speak to the coach that did it. It was very short and sweet. There were no answers or who was accountable for it or what repercussions there were. And there was no consent.”
According to the Eatonville High School website, “If an athlete were to test positive for Covid-19, the entire team could be quarantined. By using the proximity monitors we can immediately determine who might have been exposed to Covid-19. Athletes and coaches not in contact with the player who tested positive can continue to participate in the sport.”
The football team was also reportedly set to wear the monitors.
Nicci Hadman implied that she received a certain amount of negative feedback from some COVID alarmists, but she emphasized that it was all about freedom of choice (which seems more and more to becoming an endangered species in the U.S.).
“They’re just upset that I’m ‘taking away’ children’s football season which is absolutely not what I’m trying to do. If these parents want to have these tracers on their children, that’s their deal, not mine. My child is absolutely not wearing one. And I would never okay that, and I was not a given choice whether she was going to wear it or not. And I think that is completely wrong and absolutely horrifying.”
Washington is one of the states that gave early release to some prison inmates to stop the spread, yet apparently ankle monitors are or were considered appropriate for teens who are reportedly at very low risk for the virus.
In addition to lamenting the taxpayer dollars spent or wasted on this project, ‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Ainsley Earhardt more or less alluded to the irony during the segment. “As a parent, if you hear your child has a tracking device on them, usually your child is in prison, right, or out of prison and being watched by the government.”
Watch the segment and draw your own conclusions:
(Video: Fox News)
Earhardt then tossed it to talk show host and former Seattle city council candidate Ari Hoffman, who said he learned about the whole thing from social media after Nicci Hadman posted an image of the tracking device.
Hoffman claimed that the school board was unaware the proximity monitoring program had actually gone into effect.
“It seems that the superintendent of the school and the athletic director took it on [themselves] in order to implement this program, and the school board had no idea it was actually finalized and in the works at the school itself.”
Hoffman also identified various practical problems, including potential injuries, with the devices that he said the manufacturer designed for industrial use, not for high school volleyball or football. People are also wondering if this was a pilot program that might be rolled out for the entire state, he noted.
“People have a lot of concerns. Also, they’re thinking about football players with these things on their legs — wrestlers, volleyball teams. What if they trip? What if they fall? What if it starts making a beeping noise, and they’re distracted during a contact sport. There’s a lot of liability things here, and it seems like nobody was fully consulted with regard to all the pros and cons of this. It wasn’t a transparent process, and they’re wondering what’s next?”
“If you’re a wrestler, you are on top of each other, so would it be beeping the whole time?” Earhardt wondered. “Or a volleyball player diving for the ball.”
“All of a sudden you hear this beeping, and somebody is coming at you from the side You’re distracted. I think this could lead to injuries as well,” Hoffman agreed.
Whether it’s mask mandates, vaccine mandates, critical race theory, other bright ideas, or — in this case — ankle monitors, it does seem evident that parents must (and increasingly do) take an active role in monitoring, as it were, the decisions that often paternalistic, if not politicized, educators and school members are making for students.
On Wednesday night, the school board said it was shelving the monitoring program and will allow coaches and parents to make the decision down the road.
Watch a report on the controversy from NBC affiliate KING 5:
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