Parents Concerned About a Nebraska Elementary School's Lunchroom Fingerprint Scanner

Ferlon Webster Jr. | December 12, 2018
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Remember the days when privacy existed? When you could take pictures of yourself, your family and your adventures, and the only ones who would see these photos were the people you sat down with and showed in person?

How about when people wrote a journal entry in their private journal and not in a Facebook status update?

In one way or another, privacy seems to be escaping our grasps. And at an elementary school in Gretna, Nebraska, privacy is literally escaping students' fingertips.

The students of a Gretna public school have been automatically enrolled into a new "biometric fingerprint scanning system" to track their purchase of hot school lunches by the Westside School District. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t sit well with parents.

"I just don't believe that at this age that kids need to be involved in biometrics," Justin Osterfoss, the father of one student told WOWT.

As WOWT reports, parents received an email from the school discussing their new identification program to pay for hot lunches, but didn’t give the parents an option to decide whether or not they wanted their children to participate in this program.

“The email states they aren’t going to store the fingerprints, but they have to have some sort of recognition of this is who it’s identifying,” Osterfoss said. “I understand that the world changes, you know, the world’s moving on with more technology. But as of right now I don’t feel comfortable with the biometrics.” 

The school district doesn’t seem to mind crossing this privacy line, considering they have used the program for the last two years at other schools and said "it’s been successful."

“We have found that the process speeds up the lunch line or prevents the occasional issues of students entering the wrong lunch number,” Gretna Public Schools wrote in a statement.

As has been said, convenience trumps privacy. But Osterfoss sees beyond that sentiment, realizing this isn’t "Men in Black" where your fingerprints can be burned off easily for convenience. They stay with you for life.

“You can have your personal identification taken, you can change your social security number, you change a password, you change a bank account number, you can’t change your fingerprints," he pointed out.

Now clearly, a whole bunch of our information is already stored on a computer server somewhere, especially if you’ve been using social media, have a smartphone, or use a credit card. Unfortunately, it's inevitable. But when you start “forcing” students to give you their most private information without their parents' consent, you’re crossing the line.

H/T: EAG News