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Want to Ride the School Bus? Scan Your Fingerprint

Want to Ride the School Bus? Scan Your Fingerprint

Biometrics, or fingerprint scans, first appeared in schools in 2001 to help lunch lines move faster. Now a Florida school district is considering implementing fingerprint scans in a variety of ways, including on schools buses.

Joseph Sanches, school district chief of support operations, wrote, “Based on the responses to the biometrics survey we will seek Board approval to purchase a pilot use on school buses based on information learned from the previous pilot in school cafeterias and media centers” (pbspaces).

Fingerprint scanners have been proven to be more efficient than checking school I.D.s or asking for other identification from students. They are also fraud-proof; some schools use them to take attendance, ensuring that kids are where they are supposed to be throughout the day.

The drawback of biometrics in schools comes mainly in the cost and reliability of the scanning equipment. With no backup plan that doesn’t rely on electronic technology, a power outage or bug in the system could derail an entire school day or lunch period.

Some parents are also uneasy about the privacy issues that come with scanning students’ fingerprints. For many, there is something vaguely unsettling about the idea of biometrics, especially in an environment like a public school.

But as the technology improves and becomes more reliable, the benefits of biometrics may outweigh the costs. What do you think? Would you be comfortable with your kids swiping their finger across a scanner to get on the school bus in the morning? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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43 comments

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12:47PM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Thank you Anna, for Sharing this!

8:24PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

I find this scary and paranoid on whoever thought this was a good idea.

4:32PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Is this completely invasive in some ways?! Yes. Is it completely beneficial in others?! ABSOLUTELY! Really this isn't anymore invasive than having your child's fingerprints taken for your own security purposes (i.e. in case your child is abducted). Think of it this way, if your child is abducted and their attacker enrolls them in another school they will have to scan their print to get on the bus or get lunch..at the time that they do your child could be FOUND- as easily as that! Honestly for kids this isn't such a bad idea. If you are still struggling with the idea than try watching "The Changling" with Angelina Jolie and you may just have a change of heart.

8:27AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

This is a huge NO NO! What happened to privacy? If we could get the school to do it's job in the first place, and yes I understand the correct funding is needed, we wouldn't need this invasive act.

4:41AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

I'm still trying to figure out why anyone would need your fingerprint to get lunch in school. Apparently, I'm getting older than I realized. When I was in school, if you wanted lunch from the cafeteria (and you hadn't brought your own), you PAID for it with money. And that was sufficient. I don't have a problem with students requiring to have their fingerprints scanned for attendance throughout the day. In the case of even a public school, they're still supposed to be in a given place at a given time. Fine. (BTW, there is no such thing as a foolproof security system. And yes, you actually CAN get past a fingerprint scanner if you're of a creative mindset. Technology is nice, but far from infallible. And only an absolute fool believes in absolute security.) I just don't see the purpose for it in the lunch line (unless you're taking attendance, and attendance at lunch was never taken while I was in school) or on the school bus.

4:41AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

I'm still trying to figure out why anyone would need your fingerprint to get lunch in school. Apparently, I'm getting older than I realized. When I was in school, if you wanted lunch from the cafeteria (and you hadn't brought your own), you PAID for it with money. And that was sufficient. I don't have a problem with students requiring to have their fingerprints scanned for attendance throughout the day. In the case of even a public school, they're still supposed to be in a given place at a given time. Fine. (BTW, there is no such thing as a foolproof security system. And yes, you actually CAN get past a fingerprint scanner if you're of a creative mindset. Technology is nice, but far from infallible. And only an absolute fool believes in absolute security.) I just don't see the purpose for it in the lunch line (unless you're taking attendance, and attendance at lunch was never taken while I was in school) or on the school bus.

4:15AM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

My government holds a great deal of information about me already: my date of birth, parent's name, marial status, address, tax record, etc. My health provider knows my blood group, my medical history, my vaccination record, my dental record, etc.
None of the above give me cause for concern: on the contrary, I'm glad they have this information and that it's collated somewhere where, should something happen to me, I can be identified without delay and if necesary be appropriately treated.

I'd be happy to hand over my fingerprints and/or DNA as well. After all, I have no guilty secrets. Some people do have them - I can understand why they wouldn't want to be identified as, for example, an unfaithful wife or husband, a tax-evader, etc.
How about you?

11:38AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Judith H.
Thank you...and we need a lot more like you.

9:57AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Bernd F you are absolutely right! Chilling comments by Janet T and Marianne C. Yes we all want our communities and children safe but this is not the solution. Those who support these measures really need to reflect on what the big, big picture is. Just more surveillance if allowed. You need to look at what leads to a communist or totalitarian state is and it's exactly what is taking place today. I don't even recognize the United States anymore as what it once was. Sorry for so many comments on my part but stories like these really get under my skin.

9:47AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Re: Steve R's comment. Yes, the authorities will always say its for the public safety and protecting our children. If you look at the bigger picture we lose more liberty. Control's real name is bondage. If giving up some right produces a better society, then by giving up all rights we could produce a perfect society, right? We could chain everybody to a tree, for lack of trust. This may prevent a crime but it would destry PRIVACY, which is the heartbeat of FREEDOM and TRUST which is the foundation of DIGNITY.

William Pitt of the British House of Commons once said, "Necessity if the plea for every infringement of human liberty; it is the argument of tryrants; it is the creed of slaves"

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