The Greenwich Board of Education meeting on Thursday included several comments from parents concerned about the new Minga digital ID app being used at the high school.
Parents specifically raised issues with respect to the lack of transparency regarding the rollout of digital ID, whether the school had the right to tell students to enter into a contract with Minga, whether the digital ID policy might discriminate against students who do not have phones or who do not want to be tracked, and whether other modules, like the rewards module, might be activated in the future.
One speaker was even interrupted in the middle of her speech on digital ID, because apparently she spoke "out of order" and not on the topic that the BOE had listed as its number one priority on the speaker sign-up list for the evening.
Superintendent Toni Jones addressed these issues after the public comment period ended.
She assured parents that “only” the digital ID module from Minga had been implemented. She said that students “just" use it to check out library books, for the cafeteria, and for ID purposes. Students cannot post messages on the App, nor can they message one another through Minga. The rewards module is not being used at all.
Of course many parents still remember being told “it’s just 15 days”. Then “it’s just a mask”. Then “it’s just a vaccine”… and then the next thing you knew, vaccine cards were being required for events like the Greenwich Town Party. It all happened so quickly, and the nightmare is still not over!
The student body vice-president even mentioned Minga in his comments.
He said, "However, in the short term changes can be tumultuous and reason for unfair criticism. It is, for this reason, that particularly at the beginning of the year student, government and student activities are paying special attention to school spirit. Integrating new changes will be most smooth when juxtaposed with school spirit. To give an example, the new digital ID application will become more popular as we find ways to expand the applications function to class events, well activities, and student feedback."
You can imagine the skepticism parents had upon hearing “it’s just one module” especially after learning that the student body vice-president is looking forward to expanding the app's functionality to include "student feedback"!
Yeah, it's "just" one module.
For now, anyway.
Until it's not.
Jones assured parents that the app was safe and secure, and said that Connecticut had established rigorous data privacy laws to protect data. She emphasized how using Minga was for the safety of students, especially 9th graders who might try to sneak off campus for lunch.
She also said that a lot of parents missed the first time Minga was mentioned on September 6th, but then took comfort in explaining that it was discussed at a “well attended” PTA event.
Exclusively sharing important information just with PTA members is shortsighted and unfair since not all parents join the PTA. Especially after learning how a portion of PTA dues help fund the National PTA, which has taken a far left turn.
Parents who do not want to fund left-wing views should be entitled to receive the same information about new school initiatives as parents who choose to fund the National PTA's left-wing activism.
As of September 21st, nearly 2,000 of the ~2,700 students at Greenwich High School had already downloaded Minga onto their phones, just like they were told to do.
Minga is apparently not the only app that students have been told to download onto personal devices either, as many sports teams use apps to coordinate, communicate and share information.
That observation led to an interesting question regarding whether a school can require students to download any app at all onto a personal device, effectively forcing them to engage in a "contract" with a third party.
It will be a topic of future discussion, so stay tuned.