UK company “seriously considering” GPS tracking devices in school uniforms

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The leading supplier of school uniforms in the United Kingdom, Lancashire-based manufacturer Trutex, has announced it is “seriously considering” including GPS tracking devices in future ranges of its uniform products after conducting an online survey of both parents and children.

“As a direct result of the survey, we are now seriously considering incorporating a [tracking] device into future ranges” said Trutex marketing director Clare Rix.

The survey questioned 809 parents and 444 children aged nine to 16. It showed that 44% of parents were worried about the safety of pre-teen children, and 59% wanted tracking devices installed in school apparel. 39% of children aged nine to 12 were prepared to wear clothing with tracking devices in them, while teenagers were notably less enthusiastic and more wary of what Trutex has admitted they see as a “big brother” concept.

However, Trutex has claimed the tracking devices would bring about worthwhile benefits, including being a valuable resource for parents who wanted to keep a close eye on where their children were at all times.

“As well as being a safety net for parents, there could be real benefits for schools who could keep a closer track on the whereabouts of their pupils, potentially reducing truancy levels” says Rix.

Each year, Trutex supplies 1 million blouses, 1.1 million shirts, 250,000 pairs of trousers, 20,000 blazers, 60,000 skirts and 110,000 pieces of knitwear to the UK.

It is not the first company to manufacture school uniforms with a central focus on child safety; last week Essex firm BladeRunner revealed it was selling stab-proof school blazers to parents concerned about violence against their children. The blazers were outfitted with Kevlar, a synthetic fibre used in body armour. It has already received orders internationally, including Australia.

If the Trutex tracking devices go ahead, it is unclear where in the uniform they will be located.

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