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Toilet paper, soap dispensers, smoke detectors, and bathroom mirrors – the viral TikTok trend in late 2021 had students nationwide taking anything and everything from their school that they could get their hands on. The “devious lick” TikTok challenge involved students posting videos that capture them stealing, damaging, or taking property from school. Schools nationwide reported an increase in vandalism and stolen property due to the social media trend. 

The TikTok trend quickly helped schools recognize a significant gap in student visibility and accountability outside of the classroom. Schools were faced with the challenge of identifying alternative methods to better monitor students when they weren’t under the watchful eye of a teacher. Some schools implemented supervised bathroom breaks and even bathroom bans. But is that a realistic long-term solution?

How Technology Can Aid Schools – Seeing Beyond TikTok

Technology remains a strategic priority for schools in 2022 and beyond. Many schools have turned to technology — including software for visitor management, attendance automation, emergency attendance, campus traffic and security, and campus wellness — to enhance school safety and efficiency.

Digital hall passes, a modern-day approach to the traditional hall pass, are no different. Schools are adopting this new “school movement” technology to cut down on TikTok-inspired mischief, meetups, vaping, vandalism, and other out-of-classroom disruptions. This technology is built specifically to keep track of student movement around a school building. Digital hall passes have solved logistical challenges as schools and districts work to establish and maintain a level of visibility and accountability for their student body —  without having to ban bathrooms or involve staff time in student supervision between classes.

Some digital hall pass solutions utilize a QR code, barcode, or RFID tag to provide school-wide insight into the students on campus and where they were last located. Administrators can identify where students were last seen or locations where they are heading, which could be bathrooms, hallways, classrooms, the library, the nurse’s office, the gym, etc. Digital hall passes also have the added benefit of keeping students accountable by providing insight into truancy and hall pass abuse. 

Are Student Movement Solutions Really Necessary?

A recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics documents the toll the pandemic has taken on students’ mental health, with 7 in 10 public schools seeing a rise in the number of children seeking services. At a time when students are still adjusting to in-person schooling, are digital hall passes another layer of unnecessary stress that we’re adding to their plates? 

Some schools and parents have voiced concerns that the technology is too “big brother” and that schools should not be a place of persistent surveillance. But with all that students have to endure over the last few years, digital hall passes can provide a greater sense of security and normalcy, and ensure a safe learning environment. Parents and faculty also gain a greater sense of confidence in their schools knowing that they have real-time awareness of where a student is throughout the day. One school leader in Florida had this to say about student movement tracking technology, “I’m hoping to know where everyone is all the time, especially during an emergency.” 

Undoubtedly, as technology becomes more mainstream in schools, school leaders will be tasked with sorting through the benefits, drawbacks, and student privacy implications associated with cutting-edge technology.

Beyond TikTok 

At a time when available technology can enhance visibility and accountability for their student body, many schools agree it’s a worthy investment. How schools invest in school solutions today, will hopefully allow schools to spend more time on academics and less time on mitigating mischief tomorrow.

SchoolPass modernizes attendance and hall passes with automation that increases accuracy and saves teacher time.

Students check themselves into each class period using a QR code, barcode, or RFID tag. You get real-time, school-wide insight into who is on campus and where they were last located. Schedule and roster data are pulled from your SIS* to ensure accuracy. Thresholds can be configured so the system accurately determines present, tardy, and absent statuses for students that are then sent back to your SIS as the system of record for historical reporting.

With per-period attendance, immediately following the start of class, school staff and administration have access to a dashboard that shows which students are unaccounted for and require follow-up. You can review the frequency of when students are scanning out of class temporarily and begin to see patterns of students who may be abusing the privilege.

SchoolPass is an all-in-one, modern platform purpose-built for K-12 schools and designed to secure your campus, automate operations, and streamline communication. It’s the complete attendance automation and school movement solution, in the cloud. SchoolPass enables schools to spend more time on academics and less time on administrative tasks.

*SIS integration is dependent on the SIS