Can Big Brother Stop Truancy in Schools?

The monitoring is still a vital part of the program, the students are given the device and have to punch in a code as soon as they arrive to school and check in with their counselors in the morning, lunchtime and at night to make sure they are staying on track. If the GPS detects the students are not where they are supposed to be at any given time, the students get a call from that counselor. Yet the type of monitoring device utilized by AIM, one that isn't physically attached to the student, was also a well thought out component to the program, Dooley said.

"The point behind that is when someone has a tracking device that's physically attached to them, they look in the mirror and see themselves as a criminal. Then they start behaving as a criminal," he said.

According to Dooley, a device the students are tasked with holding onto and taking care of gives them something they are responsible for, something they are constantly reminded of and have to do well with, which in turn will lead them to greater self confidence.

"We try to give them encouragement, and sometimes they need a pat on the back because they may not get that anywhere else," Dooley said.

Jose said he at first thought he'd be forced to wear a device and was against being part of the program almost solely based on that.

"I didn't want to wear it if it was an ankle monitor," he said. Jose added that when they gave him the device to hold onto and not wear, he wanted to show them he would take care of it, and they could trust him with it.

"We work with these kids to teach them about responsibility. It's a structured program and we hold them accountable," AIM CEO Travis Knox told ABC News.

Knox said the program has been successful across the board in Texas and is expanding to Kentucky and Philadelphia as a result.

"We're graduating 40 to 50 students in San Antonio alone that would not have graduated without this program," Knox said. "We give these kids hope."

Truancy and students dropping out of school is a growing epidemic across the country, Knox said, and stopping it not only gives students more opportunities in life, but at least in Texas it helps the school districts financially.

"Schools lose money based on daily attendance," Knox said.

Brian Woods, deputy superintendant for administration in San Antonio's Northside Independent School District, can attest to that. According to Woods, every day a student is in attendance that school receives funding for that student that could equal thousands of dollars each year.

Woods said they've been using the program for about 10 months so far, with roughly 50 students enrolled at a time and he believes the costs will be more than offset in the long run.

"We're still in the infancy of developing this, but our initial reports are quite favorable," he said.

Woods agreed that they key component in the program is the mentoring aspect, and the fact that it aims to intervene before a student's truancy leaves him unable to attend school any longer.

"The tracking is just a message, obvious and subliminal. The mentoring is what ultimately has the power to change a student's behavior in the long term. So far it's gone well, we've seen a marked rise in average daily attendance for those who are court ordered into the program," Woods said.

Yet this isn't just an issue of school funding. According to Judge Lopez, keeping kids in school and away from dropping out has a huge impact on their future down the road.

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