On September 14, 2023, Greenwich High School (GHS) students received a notification from Karen Foster, the Director of Student Activities, immediately requiring them to download the Minga app onto their phones because the school had decided to implement digital IDs in order to track them and to provide important announcements.
Physical IDs will not be provided to students with phones.
Parents were not notified about this sweeping invasion of privacy until Friday evening—well after many students had already complied with this latest intrusion by Superintendent Toni Jones.
The district positioned the move as providing an "additional layer of safety and communication" because the school-wide surveillance app "assists" students with bus routes, handles checking out books in the media center, and notifies users with exclusive information about school events and important announcements.
But that's not all!
Minga also monitors "unauthorized gatherings in the bathrooms" according to its website, knows exactly which students are asking to go, and can even keep certain people from meeting up in the bathroom at the same time. It can be used to ban students from participating in events. It can also be used to conduct polls and surveys, and for direct messaging between students and staff.
Parents and students balked at the move, citing privacy concerns and lamented yet another major initiative without any opportunities for parents to comment and ask legitimate questions, such as:
One parent upset with the move complained that Jones was "creating a prison-like environment" for students who would now have their every move monitored and tracked by the app, which was likened to a "digital" Big Brother. While the app claims not to track GPS location or monitor web activity, Minga says "when managed correctly, it’s easy to see where students were assigned to go once they left the classroom".
The parent also wondered why Jones waited to notify parents until after students were told to download the app, calling the move an attempt to "undermine parental rights" by going straight to the underage targets who, unaware of their rights rights, might have blindly followed orders from authority figures.
Jones also indicated the app was "thoroughly vetted" but fails to mention by whom. Herself? Administrators? Teachers? The Board of Education? Because it certainly wasn't vetted by parents!
The Minga Campus Management Platform, accessible by school administrators, includes four key modules covering security, operations, communications and student behavior. It can be used to track and support a wide range of activities in school, including monitoring attendance and tardiness, creating bathroom passes, and managing ticketing for events. The app includes a module that can be used for rewarding "positive" and desired student behavior, like completing polls and surveys or belonging to a club, and also for "automating consequences" presumably for bad behavior and "wrongthink".
For example, Minga proudly declares it is a big supporter of student voice and an advocate for "meaningful conversations", and that it strives to "create a safe space" for students to talk about progressive issues (e.g., free healthcare, what BLM means to you). The app can be used to monitor free speech in student conversations and flag and remove comments that are considered "hateful or inappropriate". The app uses "anti-bullying technology" so that educators do not have to be responsible for making such determinations.
Minga’s website suggests offering rewards like candy, “cool shoes”, clothing, stickers, school supplies and other “school swag” for students who exhibit this desired "positive" behavior. The potential inclusion of a reward module like this has generated many more questions from parents, such as:
After all, Jones threatened students who do not participate in this unwelcome tracking of their activities since they "will miss out on many announcements and additional communications" unlike students who choose to be monitored.
It looks like a second class citizenry may be developing among privacy-minded students at Greenwich Public Schools. What important announcements will they miss out on? Scholarship opportunities? Athletic tryouts? Class Trips? Tutoring sessions? Why can’t those announcements be posted on the school website or in an email?
Why does this sound like the same kind of pressure that students sustained during the intense campaign to get everyone to take an experimental covid shot so that they didn't miss out on school activities, athletics, travel and more?
It's also very easy to see how systems like Minga tie into social emotional learning (SEL) systems, such as Yale's RULER program, which also rewards positive changes in behavior. Parents allege that the RULER system was illegally implemented at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich without BOE approval. RULER teaches children to track and "regulate" their feelings and emotions using a framework called "The Mood Meter" which includes an optional app that tracks their feelings.
Indeed, Greenwich’s brand-new “thoroughly vetted” digital ID system has the capacity to track each student’s emotions with a mood meter!
By the way, Yale proudly says that RULER is used as "an onramp to work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and antiracism" so they can have conversations about DEI and antiracism within a framework inspired by critical race theory (CRT), and since it helps "achieve equitable practices".
Do you see how SEL could be used to implement a PBIS that might reward students for using the "equity" lens in their decisions? Using the "equity lens" implies considering your skin color and other so-called privileges first before you make a decision.
Parents in Greenwich previously cautioned the district about the slippery slope created by RULER, suggesting it would pave the way for a Chinese-style social credit system by teaching children what was "desired behavior" according to the district.
Now that the school has a digital ID system that can be used to "reward" students for "positive conduct" and punish them with unspecified "consequences" for unwanted behavior, it seems this vision has come one step closer to reality.
The implementation of digital IDs brings Greenwich in line with a recent G20 proposal for a digital ID system that is quite similar to the wildly unpopular Covid-19 digital passport system. The G20 policy describes digital ID as something that should be required for all people in order to participate in the economy and society as a whole.
Digital transformation and digital IDs are also a key part of the World Economic Forum's (WEF's) vision for the future—part of the "Great Reset" called for by WEF globalists like Klaus Schwab in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. Did you realize that social emotional learning "through technology" was also part of the WEF vision for the future?
Starting to connect the dots yet?