Schools Starting Push to Normalize Thumb Scanning Among Young Children
School lunch is a hectic affair often with as little as 20-minutes set aside for students to line up, make their choices, find a seat, catch up with friends and avoid the uncool kids and the bullies, shake the tray over the trash, toss the tray in the general direction of the rack and head out for recess.
And, oh yeah – gobble down a few bites of a Michelle Obama-approved lunch.
Classmates who forget their lunch money or lose their punch card hold up the assembly line process even more.
Now, some schools are utilizing modern technology to speed up the process, but parents worry the move comes at the cost of their child’s privacy.
Students in the Geneva Unit District 304 just an hour west of Chicago are giving rave reviews to the new system that scans their thumbprints as they leave the lunch line at Harrison Street Elementary School.
“It’s good, because you don’t have to carry your own money or anything like that,” fifth-grader Quinlan Bobeczko told a news site.
But many parents, as well as civil rights experts, are not as quick with their unqualified support.
“I thought it was Orwellian,” says one parent at an Arizona school that tried to adopt the same system. “I find it hard to believe that someone, someday, won’t find a way to compromise the information on my child’s fingerprint.”
Dozens of parents joined him and enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties union to block the implementation of it.
School administrators around the country claim increased efficiency is just one of the benefits of using thumbprints in lieu of money or punch cards, saying it helps children on school lunch programs avoid embarrassment and helps those kids who can’t seem to keep track of their cards.
Still, privacy concerns have resulted in a new state law in Illinois requiring parental consent prior to taking electronic fingerprints of children, and the practice is barred in both Michigan and Iowa.