NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Parents are objecting to a school’s plan to implement a “biometric reader” in the school lunch line.
iBerkshires.com reports North Adams Public Schools is implementing a fingerprint scanner to an effort to speed up the lunch line process. But that’s not all:
Corey Nicholas, food service director for the public schools, said the idea was to move students through the cafeteria line more efficiently and ensure parents could accurately track their children’s lunch habits online.
“It’s definitely going to streamline the system and make the transactions more accurate,” Nicholas says, according to the news site. “Those that participate are able to see all those little transactions … we want to make sure those transactions are as transparent as possible.”
There’s no indication parents would be the only ones with access to the data and that has several irate.
“No child should have to have a body part scanned to get a meal! There was no problems with those swipe cards that we were never made aware of,” wrote one parent on Facebook, who said she’d send her child with bag lunch before allowing a fingerprint scan, iBerkshires.com reports.
“Let us not allow our children to allow privacy to become a thing of the past. Our duty is to educate and protect them, not to catalog them like merchandise,” parent Cara Roberts writes in a letter to the mayor and the news site.
“Our duty is to teach them to protect and care for their bodies. What message are we sending when we tell them their body is a means of identification, a tool for others to use to track them?”
But despite the ability to monitor what students are eating, school leaders insist the technology will actually be good for student privacy, though they never really explained how.
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Another justification Nicholas used was that it will supposedly cut down on errors.
The Berkshire Eagle reports:
The current system relies on the cafeteria manager to debit a student’s account based on recognizing the child or asking for his/her name — often resulting in errors.
“It’s pretty difficult to hear a second-grader or kindergartener,” Nicholas said.
According to the newspaper, the school district spent $10,000 on the new technology.
CBS 6 reports the student’s code expires when he graduates. No word on if it’s the same sunset for the data.
Last week, EAGnews reported on a British school implementing similar technology to “monitor their diets.”