YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Schools used a new system Wednesday for the first time to help track students.

Z passes were distributed this afternoon and used for the bus ride home. The new key cards are worn around the student’s neck with a breakaway lanyard, keeping them handy so students can use them to check in every time they get on or off a bus.

Students pass their card across the Zone Pad and it records the time, date and location that they got on or off the bus. The information is sent to an app that parents can see. The information is also useful for planning bus routes.

Second-grader Jayce Roland said he likes the new passes.

“Parents won’t worry about them or they getting hurt or something. The ones who gave us these passes try to make us be safe,” Jayce said.

The Z Pass doesn’t keep a child from getting on the wrong bus right now, but the school district has the capability to know exactly where every child is and which bus they’re on. The Z Pass stays with the students so it will be their responsibility to remember it every day.

“Parents always want to know where their kids are, and this makes it really simple and easy for us to let a parent know this is where your child is. This is when they got on the bus, this is when they got off the bus,” said Harding Elementary Principal Rob Kearns.

If a child forgets their Z Pass, they won’t be left standing at the bus stop.

“We are not going to exclude a child from a school bus, but it won’t allow the parents to see the scans,” said Colleen Murphy-Penk, chief of transportation for Youngstown City Schools.

The Z Pass cost about $20,000 for the district.  Harding Elementary is the first school to hand them out to its 350 students, and the entire district should have them within a week.

“Our students had heard about it. We knew it was coming. We were really excited and pumped up when we were the first school to get to demonstrate it to everybody else,” Kearns said.

The Z Pass has no application in school right now.  Eventually, it could become a library card or used for others things such as checking out equipment.

.