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New technology to track kids during school pickup times

TAMPA — 10News found an app that can help track kids and get them home safely.

TAMPA — It's a story that touched many of you.

A mom calling for change after her son got confused during dismissal and walked a mile home from school alone.

“He was upset because I wasn't there and he was upset and he was just scared because he didn't know where I was,” Ruth Borland told 10News WTSP.

She wants better accountability where kids wait out front of school to be picked up.

But one Tampa-based tech company has a solution.

10News reporter Mark Rivera found an app that's already being used by some public school districts in Tampa Bay that can help track kids and get them home safely.

Here's how it works. When you come near your child’s school, the app automatically sends a message inside to let them know you're there to pick up your kid.

That way they keep track of everyone who comes and goes online.

“The only tools which the schools use to manage this whole process are they throw about 50 teachers at the problem with walkie talkies, clipboards, sticky notes and loud hailers,” said PikMyKid founder Saravana Pat Bhava. “We owe it to our children to do a better job.”

You know how crazy it can be when schools let out. Parents lined up around the block to get their kids...and some have slipped through the cracks at dismissal.

That's why Pat Bhava created this. It’s an app and website called Pik-My-Kid.

MORE: Tampa man creates app to help curb long pick-up times at school

The school district signs up, you download the app, and as soon as you get near your child's school, the school is alerted. Then, a teacher dismisses your kid and you get an alert right on your phone. You know when they're coming out, and the school knows when you're there.

Parents of kids at Dickinson Elementary in Tampa say they're all for it.

“It'll help the kids and it'll help the school to be more organized,” said Julie Gil.

“If they help us out the same way we are helping them, that would be wonderful,” added Elisandra Garcia as she waited in her car for her child.

“It's a great idea if they can make it happen,” Marcos Acosta said.

Bhava says it works for bus riders and walkers too and can bring wait times down to help with congestion.
The folks I spoke to in this neighborhood near Dickinson Elementary in Tampa hope the school district adopts PikMyKid because they are sick of getting boxed in when that school lets out.

Pasco County schools already use the Pik-My-Kid system, and the company is looking to expand to Hillsborough.

It costs the district between $3,000 and $5,000 per school for the year.