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.