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Fingerprinting Your Kids at School

Updated on May 15, 2008
Photo: izzie_whizzie,Flickr
Photo: izzie_whizzie,Flickr

There's a new way to improve efficiency at your child's school: fingerprint the kids. Some parents are extremely opposed to the practice, and others could care less. Where do you stand?

Keeping the Lunch Lines Moving

In many states school districts are keep lunch lines moving faster by collecting students' fingerprints. It's a lot easier for kids (especially the younger ones) than remembering student ID numbers that are often required to be entered at the end of lunch lines. The fingerprint scan technology allows kids to record lunch purchases with the swipe of a finger. It also potentially remove some of the stigma faced by children who receive special tickets for free or reduced lunch.

What do you think? Should schools fingerprint kids in the name of efficiency?

Parents Concerned About Privacy

Fingerprint scan technology is used in many states, to pay for lunch or keep track of attendance. However, in places parents have rallied against it. Many parents are concerned about identity theft or immigrant children being tracked by the government. There are also concerns by parents and privacy law experts about records that are accessible to the companies who manage a school's computer system. Michigan and Iowa have even passed laws that forbid schools from taking electronic fingerprints of children, or require parental consent before capturing an image of a child's finger.

Isn't it just a matter of time before this portable, unique form of identification is digitized for all of us?

The Future of Identification

While Americans have historically been against fingerprinting due to fears over infringements on privacy. But the future of worldwide identification is moving toward more and more reliable ways to keep tabs on people. Fingerprint scanning is a form of biometric identification. Biometric industry analysts say that schools represent a growing portion of this $1 industry in North America alone.

Biometric technology is not going to go away. How do you feel about being the first generation of parents to witness this type of identification? Does it bother you or do you see it as progress?

Europe Takes the Lead

In the UK, the Identity and Passport Service wants to fingerprint all children over the age of 11 and keep their particulars on a database. It's part of the rules of the European Schengen agreement, which Britain isn't signed up to, but has vowed to mirror, to introduce biometric fingerprints to British passports by 2009.

Europe is ahead of the United States on fingerprinting children. How will you react if and when fingerprinting comes to your school?


The Register

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