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Smart Tags

By Staff Writer Jada Daniels

Graphics by Max Campbell, Mickey Flores-Nieves and Chloe Vaughn

During advisory on Wednesday, October 10, 2019, Timberline students of all grades were issued Smart Tags. These identification cards are brand new to the North Thurston Public School District this year, and have thus elicited the curiosity of many who do not seem to know their actual purpose. So, whether you use you were simply confused upon receiving your tag, you use it every day, or it has found itself at the mercy of your cluttered bedroom- here to clear things up are Timberline’s Attendance Secretary Denise Kinley and senior Hailey Boulton.

Denise Kinley (Attendance Secretary/Front Office)

Q: Why were the Smart Tags introduced to Timberline?

A: “Initially, it was just for the buses and to make sure the kids are on the right bus. It’s a safety tool. [We] just want to be able to track who’s on the bus, who’s off the bus, [and] if they’re on the right bus, that kind of thing. It’s more efficient.”

Q: What are the main uses for smart tags?

A: “The scan tags right now are already keyed so that you can use them in the library and for your lunch. You [also] need it for field trips, they want you to use it if you’re going on a sports activity- they’re going to start using it for all kinds of things instead of just the school bus.” 

Q: How are they any different than the ASB cards?

A: “ASB gets you into the games and you have to pay for it. This you don’t have to pay for, it’s just used by the school. [The tags] are used by the district for the tools that we need, like the library, like the lunches, and like the [chromebook] towers. ASB is for children’s benefit more or less. And I think it’s still going to be in effect they aren’t going to take that away.

Q: What do you think of this change?

A:  “I think it’s really great. If I had a young kid, I’d be thrilled because you always know your kid made it. I think the high schoolers, the drivers that already have cars, they find it probably a nuisance. They [think] ‘Why do I have to have this’ not realizing that it’s a tool with many benefits.

Hailey Boulton (Senior at Timberline)

Q: What was your reaction to receiving your smart tag?

A: “I thought it was pretty cool considering they [can] keep track [and] make sure every student actually gets on the bus and gets home. I feel like it’s a good way to keep students safe.”

Q: Do you know of any practical uses for the smart tags?

A: “When you’re getting on the bus all you have to do is scan it and the bus driver [is able to] make sure that you’re there, and then make sure you get off the bus safely to get home. I think they said that you can use it to scan for library books so you can easily scan without having to put in your ID [if] you forget it or you’re new student.”

Q: How often do you utilize your smart tag?

A: “I use it whenever I get on the bus in the morning. And on the rare occasions I go home on the bus.”

Q: Do you see their usage being enforced? 

A: Kids do forget it and they [just] say that you need to remember to bring it. They do say ‘Where’s your tag?’ sometimes. Not like in a forceful way, more like ‘Just remember next time,’. You can still get on the bus if you forget it. It’s just easier if you have it so they know [whether] you’re on the bus or not.

Q: Do you know where your smart tag is right now?

A: Yes, it’s in the pocket where I where I usually put your water bottle. I forgot what that’s called. The water bottle pocket!”